The majority of disability claims involve assessing the claimant’s credibility. The existence claimant’s medical condition or diagnosis is not questioned, only its severity. I represent a claimant whose application was approved today without a hearing because I was able to objectify her credibility.
The claimant had orthopedic problems that caused her pain. While the diagnosis of degenerative disc disease was accepted, the application was initially denied on the grounds that her condition was not severe enough to prevent her from working. In other words, her complaints of pain were not deemed credible. I did several things to establish the claimant’s credibility, and I’ll discuss two in brief.
The medical evidence can usually be used to support a claimant’s credibility in a variety of ways. The reports of the pain management specialist who gave the claimant epidural steroidal injections are fairly obvious. Less obvious are pharmaceutical records. I submitted the claimant’s pharmacy printout, which revealed a constant supply of Tylenol with codeine and Lyrica that her orthopedist had been prescribing. Just as an anesthesiologist only inject drugs into the spine when a patient has a severely painful medical condition, so too an orthopedist only prescribes those potent oral medications when a severely painful condition exists.
I also relied on the vocational evidence to support the claimant’s credibility. The courts have ruled that a claimant with a good work record is entitled to substantial credibility when claiming inability to work because of a disability. Because the claimant had worked for over 30 years, including over 25 years as a bus drive, I argued that the claimant’s work history justified the inference that when she stopped working she did so for the reasons testified to.Previous Next
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