Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Walking Time Bomb

You may be found disabled, and entitled to Social Security Disability ("SSD") benefits, even if you have the physical and mental ability to work.  I was retained by a 43 year old truck driver after his claim was denied.  The treating cardiologists said the claimant could not do sedentary work. 

   During the claimant’s hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) expressed difficulty understanding why the claimant could not work.  I explained that even if the claimant had a capacity to do sedentary work, he would still have to be considered disabled because his cardiac condition makes him a virtual walking time bomb.  The ALJ agreed that the argument made sense, but lacked medical documentation.

After the hearing, I promptly obtained and submitted a report from the claimant’s cardiologist, which stated that either two hours of physical exertion at the sedentary level, or emotional stress, could precipitate another heart attack.  In other words, there was medical evidence to support my contention that the claimant was a walking time bomb.  In approving SSD benefits, the ALJ even referred to the claimant as a walking time bomb.

The ALJ’s decision was not an isolated one.  I found many SSD cases, including one involving the identical cardiac conditions that my client had, where the federal courts ruled the claimants were disabled because their impairments created a risk of death.

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