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Can I Appeal a Disability Denial That Was Based on Outdated Information?

 Posted on September 16, 2020 in Denied Social Security Benefits

IL disability lawyerIf you are suffering from medical conditions that make it difficult or impossible to work, you may struggle to meet your needs. Fortunately, you can apply for Social Security disability benefits, which will provide you with financial support while you are unable to work. However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) often denies benefits to applicants, leaving them unsure about their ability to support themselves. If your disability claim has been denied, you can appeal this decision, and your appeal may be based on a variety of factors, including the fact that more recent medical evidence shows that you are disabled.

Magistrate Reverses Disability Denial Based on Outdated MRI Tests

One recent Illinois case demonstrates the legal issues that can arise when Social Security bases a denial of benefits on test results that may no longer be relevant. In the case of Dennis E. C., Jr. v. Commissioner of Social Security, an administrative law judge (ALJ) had denied benefits to the plaintiff based on the opinion that he had the ability to perform work in jobs available in the economy.

The plaintiff, a 39-year-old man, had previously worked as a janitor, a warehouse freight handler, and other temporary labor positions, but he reported being unable to work because of severe back pain that made it difficult to stand or sit for extended periods. He also reported difficulty kneeling, squatting, bending, reaching, climbing stairs, and performing other work-related tasks.

After reviewing the evidence, the ALJ found that even though the plaintiff had “severe impairments,” including obesity, degenerative disc disease in the lower back, and tendinitis in the shoulder, he had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work. The ALJ stated that the plaintiff could work an eight hour day, consisting of six hours sitting and two hours standing and walking.

After the plaintiff appealed this decision, the magistrate reviewed the case and found that the ALJ’s decision was based on an improper comparison between two MRIs performed at different dates. An initial MRI was performed in November of 2015, but the plaintiff claimed that another MRI performed in May of 2018 showed that his condition had worsened. When comparing these two MRIs, the ALJ did not rely on the opinion of medical experts, but she instead made her own interpretation of the later MRI and stated that it showed no evidence that the plaintiff’s condition had become worse. Because of this improper decision, the magistrate reversed the denial of benefits and ordered the Commissioner of Social Security to hold a new hearing and reconsider the evidence.

Contact a Cook County Disability Claim Appeal Lawyer

If your disability claim has been denied, you still have options to appeal this decision, especially if the evidence of your disability was not properly considered. At Pearson Disability Law, LLC, we can provide the legal help and representation you need to address a denial of benefits, and we will fight to make sure you will have the financial resources you need. Contact a Chicago Social Security disability attorney at 312-999-0999 to set up a free consultation today.





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