NHBA
Massachussets Bar Association
Maine state Bar
NOSSCR

April, 2018: Simon’s Fully Favorable Decision out of the Manchester, NH OHO

Simon is a hardworking gentleman living in Southern Maine who contacted our office looking for a Maine Social Security lawyer following receipt of an initial denial of his Social Security disability claim. His claim was handled out of the Portsmouth, NH Social Security District Office, and upon involvement, we assisted with the filing of his appeal (Request for Reconsideration). Simon had worked for many years running his own business, which he established involved very heavy labor work that he had grown into a successful family business until such time as he became disabled from working.

A number of issues were presented by Simon’s claim at the time he contacted our office. Simon was experiencing both cardiovascular issues (for which he required a corrective procedure and ongoing medication management) and low back difficulties for which corrective surgery was being recommended (but which medication management was impacting his ability to proceed with the procedure which might allow him to undertake the recommended surgery). Being only in his 40’s, the Social Security Administration (SSA) was not interested based on their rules whether Simon would be able to return to the types of physical labor he had been performing since he was in his 20’s. Instead, SSA was looking to see why Simon could not return to a simple unskilled, sedentary position. One of the additional complicating issues for Simon’s claim was that he remained involved in the family business for some minor administrative matters, and SSA remained concerned as to whether his activities in the business did amount to what was considered to be substantial gainful activity (SGA), as those terms are defined under the regulations.

As is entirely anticipated, Simon’s claim was denied on reconsideration. At the hearing level, following the guidance we were able to provide Simon regarding treatment options available for him, we were able to show that despite the additional treatment undertaken involving narcotic medication management (,in addition to the surgery ultimately approved and undertaken, then followed by injection therapy and physical therapy), he remained disabled from any manner of gainful employment. Importantly, Simon’s treatment providers (both his primary care physician and his orthopedic surgeon, with whom he continued to follow-up following surgery), were willing to address the severity of his back condition and how it was continuing to hinder his ability to function.

Given Simon’s claim was out of the Portsmouth, NH Social Security disability office, his request for hearing was heard out of the Manchester, NH OHO. Following testimony taken at hearing, the presiding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) determined that Simon’s expressed difficulties were in keeping with the treatment records from his providers, and that given his difficulties with pain, fatigue, and need to modify his activity level, he would simply be incapable of maintaining a 40 hour work week at any position. Likewise, the presiding ALJ was convinced through Simon’s testimony, that his minor efforts at home assisting as able with helping to keep the business alive (the duties for which had in the interim been taken over by others in the family) did not arise to the level of substantial gainful employment.

I’m happy to see that Simon’s fully favorable decision provided their family with both the justice and income they deserved. If you have worked your entire life and now find that you need to seek Social Security disability benefits as you simply can’t work anymore, save yourself the frustration of trying to go it alone. Let the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith provide you with the guidance and assurance you need to get through the process successfully: call (800) 773-8622.