Currently, it takes about 27 months for the typical Social Security Disability (“SSD”) application to be approved. The average waiting time for a hearing is 18 months. So what leads to an SSD claim getting approved in only four months?
I represent a 59 year old nursing assistant with neck, back and shoulder problems, whose SSD application was approved today without a hearing or need for consultative examination. The claimant’s impairments were severe, but similar to that of other claimants, whose SSD applications were initially denied. What was different about this claim? The likely answer is the way we described the claimant’s occupation.
The claimant advised us that she was a nurse. When obtaining additional information to prepare the application, it became clear that the claimant’s occupation was actually that of an assistant nurse. While the distinction may make little difference to many people, and the positions are considered equally demanding from a physical perspective, a nursing assistant is considered to have a lower skill level.
Vocational experts (“VEs”) have testified that nursing assistants do not have transferable skills to sedentary work. Therefore, under the Social Security “grid” rules, the claimant would be found disabled even if capable of sedentary work. On the other hand, some VEs have testified that nurses have transferable skills to sedentary work.
Had her application simply listed the generic title of nurse for the claimant, then the claimant would have been denied. This claimant knew it was important to hire a SS attorney rather than applying for disability on her own. This is just of an example of why it is important to do so, as she is very happy with the results.Previous Next
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