A former Assistant Resident Buildings Superintendent who worked for the New York City Housing Authority retained me after NYCERS denied his application for disability retirement benefits under Article 15. NYCERS denied the application even though the claimant submitted reports from several treating doctors that stated he was unable to work. I learned today that NYCERS approved the new application that I put together for the claimant. Why did NYCERS effectively reverse its decision?
The prior application had been summarily denied based upon the conclusion of the NYCERS Medical Board, even though the Board’s examination findings were consistent with the findings of the claimant’s treating doctors. The new application demonstrated how the medical findings and conclusions precluded the claimant from performing his specific work duties and demands, which the Medical Board was unable to rebut.
The application showed how the City’s job description would be classified in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles (the “DOT)”, and that according to the DOT, among other things, a Building Superintendent required lifting up to 20 pounds and standing and walking for at least 6 hours during an 8 hour work day. I then obtained functional assessments from the treating doctors that demonstrated the claimant lacked the capacity to perform the duties and physical demands of a Building Superintendent.
The decisions of the Federal Social Security Administration (the “SSA”) and New York State Workers Compensation Board (the “WC”), which approved the claimant’s applications for benefits, while not binding were certainly persuasive. The WC standard for disability is essentially the same as NYCERS, that is, WC required demonstrating the claimant’s inability to work as a building superintendent. To receive benefits from the SSA, the claimant had to show he was not only unable to work as a building superintendent, but also that he could not even perform sedentary work. Since none of the medical evidence submitted to NYCERS revealed any improvement, I argued it would be incongruous for both the SSA and WC to determine that the claimant is unable to work as an assistant building superintendent, especially since NYCERS had even more supportive medical evidence than either of those other two agencies.Previous Next
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