Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Veteran Gets SSD for Memorial Day

I represent a 42 year old veteran with back problems and post traumatic stress disorder who worked on subway breaking systems. He retained me after his application for Social Security Disability ("SSD") was denied, even though his treatment records from the Veterans Administration (the “VA”) were very detailed.

VA clinical notes are created to aid the doctors when treating their patients, and not to serve as evidence in connection with a disability claim. Therefore, the VA records usually do not contain any information about the patient's ability to work or function. However, VA rules now specify that their doctors should help patients seek SSD benefits, which includes completing functionality assessments.

The claimant was approved for SSD benefits today based upon the functionality report that I obtained from the treating internist, which indicated the claimant lacked a sedentary work capacity. The internist is the doctor at the VA responsible for referring the claimant to specialists, monitoring his medication, and is charged with the overall management of his medical care. Because of the internist’s role, her opinion was given “great weight,” even though she is not a specialist, because of her “familiarity with the claimant’s condition.”

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