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Severe Impairment and Social Security Disability Benefits

Lawyer for Social Security Disability Benefits in Illinois

Did The Judge Fail To Consider One Of Your Conditions As A Severe Impairment?

Social Security disability benefits claims are routinely denied. Most claimants fall into a habit of instinctively appealing denials because it seems as though that is the only way to proceed with one’s case. Although it is usually a good idea to file a timely appeal, when a judge denies a claim it is not always the right course of action to appeal the decision to the Appeals Council.

When a claimant is denied by an Administrative law Judge, he or she has to choose between appealing to the Appeals Council or starting over with a brand new application for Social Security disability benefits. The choice whether to complete a new application or appeal the judge’s decision depends on a number of factors. Since so much is on the line with this decision, it is probably best to talk to a Social Security disability lawyer that handles Appeals Council claims before you make your final decision.

There are specific types of claims that can be appealed to the Appeals Council. These claims must contain some kind of legal error made by the judge in his or her written decision.

When someone suffers from one serious medical condition, it is very common for that same person to have other medical problems as well. This is true for most claimants. Since most Social Security disability claimants argue that they are suffering from a number of serious conditions, it is not uncommon for a judge to consider some of the conditions as “not severe.” One common error made by judges is to deny a claim and fail to consider certain serious medical conditions as severe impairments.

The standard for determining whether a condition is severe can be found in SSR 96-3p. SSR 96-3p provides in pertinent part:

To be found disabled, an individual must have a medically determinable “severe” physical or mental impairment or combination of impairments that meets the duration requirement. At step 2 of the sequential evaluation process, an impairment or combination of impairments is considered “severe” if it significantly limits an individual’s physical or mental abilities to do basic work activities; an impairment(s) that is “not severe” must be a slight abnormality (or a combination of slight abnormalities) that has no more than a minimal effect on the ability to do basic work activities.

In the legal field this rule is sometimes referred to as the “slight abnormality standard.” If the medical condition is anything more than a slight abnormality it must be considered as severe. However, judges routinely follow only the first part of the rule and find conditions not to be severe because they do not “significantly” limit the individuals abilities. If you or someone you know was denied Social Security disability benefits and the judge failed to consider a condition as severe in the written decision, feel free to contact Pearson Disability Law, LLC for a free consultation - call 312-999-0999.

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