Denial rates for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits has increased about 20% the last several years, while the demographics and medical conditions of the claimants have basically remained the same. So what has changed? Besides increasing the quality and quantity of the evidence required, the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) is employing tactics in violation of their rules.
When reviewing a claimant’s application, the SSA is obligated to use doctors who are experienced and qualified to evaluate the medical evidence. However, the SSA frequently uses doctors who lack the appropriate medical backgrounds when reviewing files and examining claimants. Now, it seems, the SSA has totally abandoned its obligation to an absurd extent.
I represent a 57 year old man who had to stop working as a sewer worker because of musculoskeletal problems. The SSA denied his SSD application based upon a review of the claimant’s medical records by “Myron Watkins, M.D. (015).”
According to both the New York State Department of Health and the American Medical Association, there is nobody by the name of Myron Watkins who is licensed to practice medicine in New York.
According to the American Board of Medical Specialties, there is only one person in the entire United States named Myron Watkins who is board certified, and he is licensed in Texas, not New York, and certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
To make sure that I had not discovered some sort of mistake, I decided to check the medical code that the SSA provided for Myron Watkins. The SSA Medical Consultant Code for 15 is gynecology. Unbelievably, it was no mistake. The SSA had denied my client’s application, a man who has cervical and lumbar radiculopathies, based upon a review of medical records by a gynecologist.