I represent a 48 years old word processor who had to show that she became disabled by her cervical and lumbar radiculopathy before 2006 in order to receive Social Security Disability benefits. The claimant’s family doctor and rheumatologist both concluded that the claimant had a less than sedentary work capacity. Their opinions were supported by their clinical records and cervical and lumbar MRIs. However, their opinions were ignored because they began treating the claimant after the onset of her disability, and her application was denied.
The case law provides that even if a retrospective opinion refers to an onset several years prior to the commencement of the treating relationship it must be given significant weight as long as it is predicated upon a medically acceptable clinical diagnostic technique. On appeal, I persuaded the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) that the clinical records and diagnostic evidence showed the claimant was disabled as of her onset date, which was prior to the date when her current doctors began treating her. The ALJ then applied treating physician retrospectively, accepted their opinions regarding the onset of the claimant’s inability to work, and approved her benefits.Previous Next
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