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IL disability lawyerMental impairments, such as bipolar disorder, often make it impossible for a person to focus on their work. When applying for disability benefits, Social Security officials often discuss an applicant's “concentration, persistence, and pace” to describe this focus, or lack thereof. Essentially, if the symptoms of your mental disorder–or even the treatment for your disorder–reduce your overall productivity in the workplace, that is a crucial piece of evidence in support of your claim for disability benefits.

Illinois Woman Granted New Hearing After Social Security Failed to Properly Assess Limits on Her Concentration, Persistence, and Pace

If a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) fails to properly account for limitations in your concentration, persistence, and pace, you may be entitled to a new hearing. This is precisely what happened in a recent Illinois disability case, Thea P. v. Saul. The plaintiff in this case filed for disability more than 5 years ago, citing a number of mental impairments, including bipolar disorder and depression.

In denying the plaintiff's application, the ALJ nevertheless found that she had “moderate difficulties of concentration, persistence, or pace.” During the hearing, the ALJ questioned a vocational expert (VE). Such experts commonly testify in disability hearings; their role is to explain the types and number of jobs a person could hold, taking into account certain limitations. Here, the ALJ asked the VE to consider the hypothetical employment opportunities for an individual who was limited to “performing more than simple routine tasks” without having to meet any “strict quotas” for production.

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Chicago Social Security attorney, depressive disorders, disability benefits, depression disability, Social Security Disability InsuranceAlthough depression is dismissed by many people as “just feeling sad” or “having a bad day,” in reality it is a serious mental disorder that affects millions of Americans. In fact, depressive disorders are among the most common sources of Social Security Disability Insurance claims.

Psychiatrist's “One-Time Evaluation” of Disability Applicant Still Valid

Getting Social Security to actually recognize an applicant's depression as a disability, of course, is not always simple. Even with a diagnosis from your treating physician, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) may attempt to minimize or outright dismiss your depression as a serious disorder. In many cases, the ALJ will even try to bypass your doctor's treatment opinions by citing third-party “experts” who review your medical records but never personally examine you.

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