Sunday, May 28, 2017

Hereditary Angioedema

Hereditary Angioedema ("HAE") is a rare and potentially life threatening medical condition, which causes swelling in almost any body part, external or internal. The swelling occurs unpredictably, but can be triggered by repetitive motion, or even just being bumped. The swelling and pain can completely preclude use of the affected body part, e.g., hands, feet, or can result in death if the airways or digestive system swell. 

From a claimant's persepective, the problem is explaining why HAE renders them disabled from working. A Social Security medical expert testified that my 43 year old client was disabled, but could stand/walk 6 hours out of 8, and could lift 10 lbs. The administrative law judge (“ALJ”) wanted a supplemental hearing, presumably for a vocational expert, until I cross examined the medical expert ("ME"). 

I was able to get the ME to agree that the claimant would miss at least 3-4 days a month because of the HAE. The ME also agreed that while the claimant might be able to lift 10 lbs and stand for 6 hours, it was not advisable for him to do so given his HAE. Following the ME's conclusions, the ALJ stated that a supplemental hearing would not be necessary, and she would issue a decision shortly. Given the ME's testimony, I anticipate a fully favorable decision. 

The ALJ also wanted a supplemental hearing so the ME could consider adversarial evidence. Because of my client's HAE, he is homeless, which is why I vehemently opposed a supplemental hearing. Besides needing SSD to live, the client should also be entitled to receive Medicare, which is critical to his receiving proper treatment.

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