MS is a chronic neurological and eventually disabling disease that attacks the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, pain, numbness, and poor coordination.
The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) made it near impossible to meet the listing for MS. Consequently, the key to obtaining benefits is explaining why the symptoms from MS credibly result in functional limitations that preclude the ability to perform full time work consistently.
I represent a 41 year old from Oceanside with MS who worked as a property manager. The objective diagnostic tests established the MS diagnosis, which explained the presence of her symptoms. However, the State agency denied her SSD application because it refused to believe that the claimant’s symptoms were severe enough to preclude all work.
The claimant had a hearing with ALJ Berkowitz, who immediately zoned in on the obvious. The claimant had been earning around $200,000 annually, and the ALJ asked the claimant if she knew how much SSD she would receive. Common sense dictated that the claimant would not forgo a job that she held for over two decades because she wanted to receive SSD benefits equal to less than 20% of her former income, and that provided credible support for the severity of her symptoms.
It seemed clear to the ALJ that the claimant was unable to work, and entitled to SSD benefits. It seems incomprehensible that it wasn’t equally evident to the State agency that the claimant could not work on a full time basis.Previous Next
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