33 N. Dearborn Street, Suite 1130, Chicago, IL 60602

6 Convenient Locations

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube
Search

No attorney fee unless we win!

call us312-999-0999

Subscribe to this list via RSS Blog posts tagged in medical experts

IL disability lawyerIt is a well-established rule in Social Security disability cases that the agency's administrative law judges (ALJs) are not allowed to “play doctor.” That is to say, the ALJ is a layperson, not a doctor or a medical expert. Therefore, when assessing an applicant's disability claim, the ALJ must rely on testimony or evidence offered by such experts rather than trying to diagnosis the claimant themselves.

Court Cites ALJ's Failure to Call Medical Expert in Ordering New Disability Hearing

Unfortunately, this rule is not always so easy to implement in practice. As an Illinois federal magistrate judge observed in a recent disability case, Michelle M. v. Saul, it is often difficult to distinguish “playing doctor” from “merely noting or summarizing the evidence.” Indeed, the magistrate observed that “there do not appear to be many clear rules to determine when the doctor-playing line is crossed.”

This particular case illustrated the problem. The plaintiff here applied for disability benefits alleging a number of physical impairments, including chronic pain in her back, hands, and feet. But as the magistrate explained, the plaintiff's treating physicians have been able to make a “single consistent diagnosis” to explain the cause of her problems. Additionally, the plaintiff received significant treatment after her disability hearing before the ALJ, and as a result, there were “200 pages of treatment records” submitted after the hearing.

...

Illinois social security disability attorney medical examWhen applying for Social Security disability benefits, the medical records provided by your own treating physicians are rarely taken at face value. Social Security will also seek one or more consultative medical examinations. These are exams conducted by doctors hired by the government to supplement the existing medical records in your case. In many cases, consultative physicians only do a quick exam, yet their views are often afforded great weight by Social Security administrative law judges (ALJs) when deciding whether to grant or deny a disability application.

Appeals Court Rejects Disability Applicant's Interpretation of Doctors' Opinions

When dealing with consultative physicians, it is important to be honest. Do not exaggerate or downplay any symptoms you are experiencing. Similarly, you need to be accurate when citing or discussing any findings presented by the consultative physicians.

Recently, the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals here in Chicago rejected a Social Security disability appeal centered on the views of two consultative physicians. The plaintiff, a woman in her 50s suffering from a variety of mental and physical impairments, applied for disability benefits four years ago. Two consultative physicians–a medical doctor and a psychologist–conducted brief exams of the plaintiff on the same day in 2014. 

...

Chicago Social Security benefits attorneySupplemental Security Income (SSI) is a program administered by the Social Security Administration that is intended to assist disabled individuals with little or no income. SSI is not the same thing as Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). SSDI is, as the name implies, an insurance program into which workers pay. In contrast, SSI is a welfare program funded by general tax revenues. SSI is similar to SSDI, however, in that both programs require Social Security to assess whether an applicant is “disabled” and therefore unable to work.

Applicant Suffering From Fibromyalgia Entitled to New SSI Hearing

SSI applicants often face hostility from Social Security officials who choose to ignore medical evidence of disability in order to justify denying benefits. Recently the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ordered Social Security to reconsider one SSI applicant’s claim for benefits after an administrative law judge simply disregarded medical evidence. This particular SSI case has been pending for more than five years, and this appears to be at least the third time that Social Security will have to review the matter.

...

You are not alone. Call us now for a FREE consultation 312-999-0999

Unable to travel to one of our offices? No problem! No office visit required.

dupage county bar association Chicago abr association nosscr Super Lawyer
Back to Top