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Many people seeking Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits do not include third party support statements when applying, or have third parties testify at hearings. Having witness attestations should not be overlooked.
We represent a 57 year old Financial Vice President from Queens Village with spine impairments. The claimant had two SSD applications that were denied before we were retained. The good news is that we succeeded in getting the claimant’s third application approved on-the-record without a hearing. The bad news is that the ALJ would not reopen the prior applications, which resulted is a substantial loss of benefits.
One difference in the third application was a report from the claimant’s friend, which the ALJ specifically considered in accordance with Social Security Ruling (SSR) 16-3p. Specifically, he considered the personal observations in terms of how consistent those observations are with the claimant’s statements about their symptoms as well as with all of the objective medical evidence in the file. Third party statements are not evaluated using the same criteria as medical source statements; however, they were considered to complete the narrative of the claimant’s subjective complaints in accordance with accordance with and 20 CFR 404.1520b(c) and 416.920b(c).
The claimant made the right decision when he realized that he needed to retain an experienced disability attorney after filing on his own, and being denied twice. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of his decision. Please feel free to call our office for a free phone consultation if you are considering applying for SSD benefits. We are located on Long Island with offices located in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
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