Thursday, May 19, 2016

Combined Disabling Conditions

Claimants frequently omit information concerning some medical problems because they say it is not the main problem. That is a mistake, especially when applying for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. Social Security has a rule that requires considering the combined effect of all of a claimant’s impairments without regard to whether any such impairment, if considered separately, would be of sufficient severity. 

I represent a 49 year old legal secretary with physical and mental impairments from an accident, whose SSD benefits were approved today without a hearing. I submitted reports from the claimant’s pain management specialist and orthopedist regarding the physical impairments, and reports from the claimant’s psychiatrist and therapist regarding her mental impairments. 

Most cases with severe physical or mental impairments still require a hearing before SSD benefits are approved. While the claimant probably would have been approved based upon either her physical or mental impairments after a hearing, developing the record for both impairments facilitated a decision without one. The goal is not simply to win, but to do so as quickly as possible.

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