January, 2018 Karina’s Haverhill, MA and Lawrence, MA Social Security Disability Appeal
Karina’s Haverhill, Massachusetts Social Security disability claim was initiated with the assistance of a disability firm out of the Midwest. Karina signed on with the lawyer that owns and operates that firm, only to find out later that he would never be the one communicating with her as he did not actually handle any of the cases himself. It did not occur to her at the time what a difference it would make hiring a local Massachusetts Social Security lawyer who would actually be involved and aggressive in the handling of her claim.
Karina filed her initial claim out of the Haverhill, MA Social Security District Office just 6 weeks after going out of work. She was promptly denied on her initial application, and once again at the reconsideration level (which was likely to happen in light of how soon Karina had filed after going out of work and the need to show that she would remain out of work for what would be a year or longer). When she came to our office, she was without guidance as to why she had been denied, what to expect, what was being done to win her case and with no word from the attorney who signed the paperwork saying he would represent her. This all changed when she contacted our office.
Karina’s medical picture was a complicated one, and especially for someone that was still in her 30s. She was suffering from abdominal pain that stemmed from a variety of gynecological issues that included endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome with ovarian cyst issues, hernia repair involving mesh placement, along with back and problems that stemmed from diagnoses that included degenerative disk disease with radiculopathy and Fibromyalgia, This is not to mention issues with anxiety, depression and insomnia. To Karina’s credit, she didn’t just stay at home after having to go out of work as a result of her medical problems. She attempted a return to work while she was applying for benefits, which we were ultimately.
What we discussed as we prepared Karina for the hearing process is that her entire medical history was in essence missing. In order to tell her story, we needed to show the judge her extensive prior medical history (which caused her file to triple in size from 9 medical exhibits to 27 such exhibits by the time we reached hearing). Likewise, we explained to her the importance of maintaining treatment with specialists for any condition that she believed remained severe. And this in turn allowed us to seek helpful reports (residual functional capacity questionnaires from her not only her primary care physician, but also her treating obstetrician/gynecologist, rheumatology and urologist.
Following review of our pre-hearing brief, and presentation at hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) at the Lawrence, MA Office of Hearing Operations, (and Karina certainly made an excellent witness, especially in light of her work history that had included helping people with medical problems as both a CNA and technician for all of her working years), the presiding ALJ did provide Karina with a fully favorable decision. The presiding ALJ likewise agreed that Karina’s short-term effort to return to work, which did end because of her disabling condition, constituted an unsuccessful work attempt. She was thus provided benefits based on the date she initially left work. In making this decision, the presiding ALJ agreed that each of the treatment providers’ opinions as to the nature and severity of Karina’s various medical conditions were entitled to great weight and deference and did support the conclusion that she had remained incapable of any manner of gainful employment since her alleged onset date.
As Karina expressed to us at the end of the case, she learned that having a lawyer on her side that knew what they were doing made all of the difference in the outcome of her case. And so, if you or someone you care about seems to be getting nowhere in the Social Security disability system, call a lawyer who has spent his entire 30 year career assisting those who are disabled get the benefits they deserve. Call the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at 1-800-773-8622.