Thursday, April 30, 2015


The alleged onset date (“AOD”) is the date that the applicant claims his or her inability to work began. A decision is fully favorable when it grants disability benefits back to the AOD. A decision is a partially favorable decision when it grants disability benefits after the AOD. 

An administrative law judge (“ALJ”) may ask the claimant to amend the AOD to a later date in order to avoid issuing a partially favorable decision. By making the decision "fully favorable," it is unlikely that the Appeals Council would overturn or send the case back to the ALJ if appealed. Reduced past due benefits may be a good trade off when increasing the chances of continued future benefits. 

One basis for agreeing to an amended AOD is insufficient medical proof. The AOD may lack solid evidentiary support. I agreed to an amended AOD for a claimant today in order to receive a fully favorable decision because I agreed with the ALJ, whom I know to be fair. However, I have rejected similar requests many times in the past from other ALJs, when I disagreed that evidence was lacking. It is an important decision that should be made with your attorney.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Padro Benefits

The Padro class action provided certain disability claimants who had hearings with Queens ALJs new hearings. I represented a 40 year old pharmaceutical territory manager whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) was denied by one of the Padro ALJs, and succeeded in winning her case after a new hearing by a non-Padro ALJ. As a result, the claimant will receive approximately $150,000 in past due benefits. 

While the claimant is obviously thrilled to get such a large sum of money, she would have preferred never to have been wrongfully denied in the first place.