There are two parts to disability benefit cases – the vocational issues and the medical issues – with the former frequently being overlooked. The task of the person deciding if a claimant is disabled is to ascertain the claimant’s physical and mental restrictions and limitations (R&Ls), and then to compare them with the relevant occupational demands.
Regardless of whether the claim is being considered by an insurance company, governmental agency, or some other entity, it is usually the claimant’s responsibility to provide the reviewer with support for the claim, which should include R&Ls from the treating sources. The R&Ls should include opinions regarding both exertional and nonexertional abilities, which can be determinative sometimes.
I represent a 44 year old former hospital admissions clerk with mental impairments, whose Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits were approved today. The treating psychiatrist provided supporting narrative reports, progress notes, and impairment assessments. Ultimately, the ALJ rested his decision approving the SSD application on the psychiatrist’s opinion that the claimant’s medical condition would cause him to miss work at least three days a month. It is generally accepted that an employee cannot miss three days of work a month, and still maintain employment, which the vocational expert at the hearing confirmed.
When pursuing a claim for any type of disability benefits, it is important to have the treating sources opine about any R&L that could potentially adversely impact the claimant’s ability to work.Previous Next
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