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disability hearings, Chicago disability benefits lawyer, outdated medical records, disability application,  disability casesFully resolving a claim for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits often takes years. Much of this delay is due to the Social Security Administration's failure to follow its own regulations when evaluating an applicant's medical records. Indeed, the delay itself often creates an additional problem: During reconsideration of an application, an administrative law judge (ALJ) may be relying on a stale, outdated analysis of the applicant's medical condition.

Court Orders New Hearing in 11-Year-Old Disability Case

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals here in Chicago recently addressed such a case. The plaintiff first applied for disability benefits approximately 11 years ago. An ALJ initially heard and denied the plaintiff's application in 2010. Following an initial round of appeals, a supplemental hearing was held before a different ALJ in 2014, which also resulted in a denial.

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Chicago Social Security lawyer, frequent migraines, disability qualifications, disability benefits application, deny disability benefitsMigraines are more than a simple headache. A migraine attack may cause disabling pain that lasts for hours or even days. If you suffer from frequent migraines that restrict your ability to work, you may qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits.

Social Security Ordered to Reconsider Claim of Illinois Man

Social Security officials may be quick to dismiss migraines as nothing more than the occasional headache. It is easy to dismiss a disability where the effects are not externally obvious. But migraines and severe headaches are serious medical impairments, and agency officials cannot simply ignore them.

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Chicago Social Security disability lawyer, medical testimony, disability case, social security disability, disability appealsThere is a tendency in Social Security Disability Insurance cases for agency officials to place greater weight on the testimony of state agency medical consultants than on the findings of the applicant's own treating physician. The medical consultant's job is to perform an initial review of an applicant's medical history and determine if he or she is qualified as disabled under Social Security regulations. Unfortunately, medical consultants are often generalists who lack specialized knowledge of a disability applicant's impairments. Indeed, Social Security regulations only require the consultant to be a “licensed physician.”

ALJ Gives “Great Weight” to Testimony She Completely Ignored

Many times we see Social Security disregard testimony from a treating physician who is a specialist in favor of the non-specialized analysis prepared by the medical consultant. Of course, when a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) does not like what the medical consultant has to say, they may disregard that testimony as well. Such conduct is a clear affront to agency regulations, not to mention the due process rights of disability applicants.

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