Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Common Sense

Multiple Sclerosis (“MS”) is a chronic and often disabling disease. When seeking Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits based on MS, the strongest evidence is that which shows the claimant meets the MS “listing.” If you establish that you meet the criteria of 11.09 for MS, then you are presumed to be disabled, and no further medical or vocational development is required to establish entitlement to SSD benefits. The listing opinion should come from the treating neurologist.

Because the symptoms of MS frequently wax and wane with remissions, it is sometimes difficult to get SSD approved, even with a supporting listing opinion. I was retained by a 48 year old Printer Graphic Designer after his SSD application had been denied twice on the grounds that he could do sedentary work. The claimant had been earning over $120,000 annually.

I filed papers contending that a hearing was not needed to evaluate the claimant’s credibility because the only issue was whether he was exaggerating his claim that he lacks the ability to perform sedentary work in order to receive SSD benefits equal to an eighth of his working income. It was common sense that the claimant would have continued to work if he could. The Administrative Law Judge agreed, and approved SSD benefits today.

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