The focus on disability claims is almost always on medical evidence because claimants seek benefits on the grounds their medical condition prevents them from working. However, situations arise where there is little or no medical evidence. For example, the claimant might be unable to afford medical treatment, or perhaps further medical treatment cannot improve the medical condition. In these types of circumstances the vocational evidence could be helpful.
I represented a 52 year old woman claimant who suffered a traumatic brain injury (“TBI”) and other physical injuries as a result of a car accident while crossing a street in Manhattan. Her physical injuries had heeled. Essentially, her medical treatment was limited to a psychologist, who indicated the claimant’s mental problems had largely resolved except for her cognitive deficits. Nonetheless, I was able to secure her disability benefits in only four months.
Like most cases, the key to obtaining the disability benefits was establishing the credibility of the claimant’s allegations regarding the severity of her limitations. I described the serious nature of the accident, which not only killed her husband, but also required her to have extensive hospitalization. I pointed out that prior to her accident, the claimant was a high functioning executive earning over $90,000 a year. In contrast, while the claimant had made a significant recovery from the year old accident, I emphasized that the claimant resides in an assisted living facility. Those are not medical facts, but they explained why the claimant should be believed when she claimed she could not work.Previous Next
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