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severe disability, denied claim, Chicago Social Security Disability AttorneyApplicants for Social Security Disability insurance often present evidence of multiple ailments. For purposes of granting or rejecting a claim, Social Security need not find all of an applicant's ailments are serious enough to constitute a disability. However, if the agency determines any of a claimant's ailments are “severe,” the law requires Social Security consider the “aggregate effect of this entire constellation of ailments including those impairments that in isolation are not severe.” Unfortunately, Social Security officials often fail to follow this requirement and instead dismiss evidence of severe impairments in wrongly denying a disability claim.

SSA Failed to Consider Limits of Teenage Heart Transplant Patient

Consider a recent example from here in Illinois. The applicant is a woman who has dealt with serious health problems since childhood. She required a heart transplant at the age of 12. Afterwards, she required ongoing treatment for a number of other ailments. After her 18th birthday, the applicant filed for Social Security Disability benefits, claiming her continuing medical problems left her unable to work.

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Chicago Social Security Disability benefits attorney, medical evidenceSocial Security Disability Insurance applicants often face an uphill battle against agency officials looking for any reason to deny benefits. In many cases, a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) will declare an applicant's testimony lacks credibility, even if evidence clearly supports their disability claim. Even worse, an ALJ may “cherry-pick” evidence to justify a decision to deny benefits, a practice forbidden by the federal courts.

Social Security Wrongly Ignores Evidence of Woman's Disability

In one recent example, an Illinois woman applied for Social Security Disability benefits, citing a number of medical problems including arthritis and an enlarged heart. A Social Security ALJ denied the woman's application, determining she could still perform “light work,” and that her complaints about her medical condition and physical limitations were “inconsistent with the record” presented.

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It finally comes time for a hearing, the day most of my clients have been waiting months for. After sometimes over a year of waiting for a disability determination, my clients know that the hearing will most likely be the final say on whether he or she receives disability benefits. Numerous times, I have been asked by claimants what doctors should be used as evidence in support of their disability claim. This is usually brought on when a claimant discovers that the Social Security Administration can submit evidence from their own doctors.

While every case is unique in their own right, my answer invariably is to use your own medical doctor. Your doctor has worked with you many times, sometimes even for years on end. Your doctor also knows your case, where you stand mentally or physically, and is usually a specialist in the field. Often times the Social Security doctor is none of the above. Social Security doctors are typically not specialists and have most likely only met with you once. A doctor that has only met with you once, no matter how good the doctor, cannot have the knowledge of your treating physician. If you are ever approached with this scenario with either your attorney or claimants represenative, insist that the medical evidence be used from your actual treating physician.

Tagged in: Medical Evidence

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