February, 2010: A Combination of Conditions Making it Impossible to Work in Maine
This month's hard-earned success story involves Andrea, who is a very kind woman and deserving woman in her mid-forties who is experiencing a great sense of relief as a result of the receipt of her fully favorable decision. Andrea had a long and consistent work history in a variety customer service and cashier type positions who began to struggle with her work after a series of losses in her life that affected her very significantly in terms of her emotional health. At the same time, she was experiencing significant difficulties with rheumatoid arthritis for which she was treating with her rheumatologist.
Andrea initiated her Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income claims without the benefit of a Social Security disability lawyer by filing her claim with the Saco, Maine Social Security field office. Upon receiving her initial denial, Andrea did file her request for reconsideration and, upon receiving a denial of her claim once again upon review by Disability Determination Services (DDS), she contacted our office to assist her with the filing of her Request for Hearing.
Certainly, Andrea's struggles were not helped at all by the Social Security Administration's multiple denials of her claim. As part of this process, we were able to work with her treatment providers (her long-standing rheumatologist who had been treating her for many years along with her primary care physician, counselor and psychiatrist) to ensure that there was compelling evidence provided as to the extent of Andrea's difficulties. Andrea had treated for quite serious Rheumatoid Arthritis issues, which carried with it the need to take medications with very serious side effects. Unfortunately, at the prior agency level, no evidence had been obtained from the rheumatologist to address the objective findings he noted from his evaluations, which included findings that she had bouts of obvious swelling in her hands, knees and feet, along with her wrists and fingers, which he noted would make it difficult for her to both ambulate and use her hands meaningfully during these periods of time. He was likewise kind enough to address the fact that she was suffering from severe mental health problems that resulted from years of abuse earlier in life which further impacted her mental health such that her high levels of anxiety was causing her emotional paralysis during the day.
Moreover, it was helpful to her claim that for each of her severe conditions she was in treatment with specialists. She maintained treatment both with a counselor and psychiatrist who detailed the effects which Andrea’s physical problems and family problems had been impacting her emotionally. Because her counselor and psychiatrist had gotten to know her over a lengthy period of time, they knew her well and were sympathetic to her circumstances: they were more than willing to address the nature and severity of her condition by way of a mental impairment questionnaire that served to support her claim that she remained simply too debilitated by her medical conditions to be able to attend to work. In Andrea's case, the extent of her mental health problems as addressed by her treatment providers made it clear that she met a medical listing of impairment.
We worked with Andrea to prepare her for the hearing before a very kind and understanding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Portland, Maine Office of Disability Adjudication and Review. Within a short time following her hearing, she did receive a fully favorable decision from the ALJ.
I am thankful that Andrea placed her trust in my office and saw her claim through with us to a favorable conclusion. While I know she continues to deal with an awful lot in terms of her mental and physical health, I feel better knowing that has been provided with the benefits she needs and deserves.
If you or someone you’re close to is suffering from significant mental health or physical disabilities and need assistance with your long-term disability claim, contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at (800) 773-8622 now so as to provide you with some advice and assistance that can help address your concerns.