December, 2016: Boston, MA ODAR Office: Annette’s Social Security Favorable On the Record Decision
Annette’s claim out of the Quincy, MA Social Security Administration office and Boston, MA Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) is a prime example as to how an experienced MA Social Security lawyer can provide you with the best chance to win your case. Annette’s claim shows that an attorney willing to go the extra mile and undertake the leg work not only will make it easier for the client, but will likewise make it easier for an Administrative Law Judge down the road to see fit to provide one benefits.
Annette, who is in her mid-forties, and who has a strong past work history in administrative and clerical positions in different types of office environments, came to see us after her initial filing of her claim through the Quincy, MA Social Security field office (which she filed without the benefit of a Social Security attorney’s assistance) was denied. We assisted Annette with the filing of her Request for Reconsideration (while in Maine and Massachusetts one faces the prospect of a very unfair redetermination called reconsideration, in New Hampshire the claimant would go straight to the hearing level and bypass the need for this additional appeal process). As we inform the vast majority of our clients denied at the initial level in Massachusetts, we advised her to brace herself for a denial letter following additional review of her claim by Disability Determination Services out of Boston. Indeed, her claim was denied once again, and, upon the filing of her Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), began looking at Annette’s story to see how we might better clarify her story at this level. It was apparent through the history of her treatment (and that which was apparent in her Social Security electronic file, that she had a long history of surgeries and recoveries that had left her with a developing pain syndrome. Ultimately, she left work as a result of a severe condition involving her foot that required surgery, but from which she did recover sufficiently to return to work (from the standpoint of her foot alone).
What was apparent, though, is that the history of surgeries and treatment were weighing on her both emotionally and physically. Her mental health condition had worsened to the point where it became necessary for her to seek additional counseling and psychiatric care through her treatment providers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. This is not to mention the fact that she had already been treating with a pain management specialist through their facility for many years whose records reflected the fact that her condition was only worsening to the point where going to a job for her was simply untenable.
We went about the painstaking process of retrieving the additional treatment records that were missing, which amounted to more than 2000 pages of records from 15 different providers. Likewise we sought opinions from her counselor and psychiatrist concerning her mental health condition and from her pain management specialist who had been treating her for years.
Given the Social Security file had grown from what was 1800 pages to more than 5000 pages following our involvement, the presiding ALJ looked to our office for assistance with our argument brief so as to guide her through the voluminous records. We were able to make evident to the ALJ that her condition had remained severe and disabling from the time she had initially alleged disability, and that indeed a fully favorable decision was warranted at this time.
I am happy to note that Annette was spared the need to attend a hearing as the ALJ saw fit to provide her with a fully favorable “On the Record” decision (which means no testimony was needed at hearing). Annette’s claim is further evidence of the impact a hardworking Social Security disability lawyer can make in one’s case, especially if you already have enough to worry about with very serious medical issues.
If you or someone you love is finding themselves in the predicament of being unable to work and don’t know where to turn, give the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith a call at (800) 773-8622 and see how our office and work with you to turn things around.