We represent a 50 year old former general clerk from Florida with physical and mental impairments seeking Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. At the claimant’s hearing, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) noted that the claimant had no medical treatment the past year. Typically, an ALJ will deny SSD benefits under those circumstances on the assumption that if a claimant stops treating, then it shows they got better. Alternatively, some ALJs will deny SSD benefits on the grounds that the claimant failed to supply the requisite contemporaneous evidence to support their claims.
We explained to the ALJ that the case law in New York provides that a claimant cannot be penalized for failing to seek medical treatment if they cannot afford it or lack health insurance. The claimant, who was homeless, credibly testified that both of those circumstances applied in her case. The ALJ accepted that testimony, and approved the claimant’s SSD application.
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