The Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has taken steps to make it harder to obtain Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits. One of the tactics the SSA has been using is continuously making the listings more complicated.
MS is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. Disabling symptoms include overwhelming fatigue, numbness, and poor coordination. Like many listings the SSA rewrote the one pertaining to MS. As a result, treating neurologists are usually no longer willing to provide an opinion that a patient meets the MS listing, which no doubt was the SSA’s goal.
I represent a 56 year old former teaching assistant with MS whose SSD benefits were approved today. The treating neurologist would not opine that the claimant met the MS listing because he said it was ridiculously convoluted, and replete with cross references on cross references. Nonetheless, the neurologist did provide treatment records with a report that detailed the claimant’s functional limitations.
The ALJ had no problem accepting the neurologist’s medical findings and opinions. However, the claimant had to wait years before her hearing was scheduled. If the SSA had not intentionally increased the complexity of the MS listing, then the neurologist probably would have opined the claimant met its criteria, which could have avoided a hearing.Previous Next
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