NHBA
Massachussets Bar Association
Maine state Bar
NOSSCR

January, 2018: Katherine's Fully Favorable Decision out of the Manchester, NH ODAR

Katherine is a family-oriented, hardworking mother of 2 young children, who is in her 30’s and who came to our office following an initial denial of her claim after filing on her own for Social Security disability benefits out of the Keene, NH Social Security field office. As is the case with so many who contact our office, Katherine had filed for Social Security beneft after being disabled from working for six (6) months only to be summarily denied. She had been the seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident which had caused head injuries that involved bruising of her brain and which likewise had required stitches. Her injuries likewise resulted in a significant blood clot in her leg that required the administration of a blood thinner, which consequently brought about a cerebral hemorrhage requiring the need for brain surgery. All of this within weeks of her accident. Carol was then placed in the unenviable position of being unable to take her blood thinner following her brain surgery, which medication she required for the blood clot in her leg: the failure to take such medication subsequently resulted in the collapse of the blood vessel at issue in her leg.

Even worse, the brain surgery left Katherine with unrelenting headaches, fatigue and left- sided weakness in her arm. She was additionally suffering from issues involving her memory, such that she was provided occupational therapy to assist with not only the cognitive issues she was continuing to experience but also the weakness she was having in her leg as a result of the blood clot in her leg. During the course of time she was applying for disability benefits, she did continue to improve somewhat through physical therapy, and, in light of this, Disability Determination Services out of Concord, NH determined that her condition would improve within a year’s period of time such that she would not remain totally disabled from working for what has been or will be a year or longer as is required by Social Security’s regulations. 

Understanding that Katherine’s case would require the need to prove a combination of impairments that were interfering with her ability to function over time despite prescribed treatment, we understood that Katherine’s intention to maintain continued, consistent treatment with her specialists would proved crucial to a successful outcome in her case down the road. The presiding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) would be looking to see that her condition had remained severe and disabling despite prescribed treatment, as is required by the regulations. Katherine’s physical therapist and neurologist, who continued to provide her care leading up to surgery, proved to be (perhaps separate and apart from her lawyer) the best advocates she could have asked for: both providing very supportive medical questionnaires outlining how her conditions were impacting her ability to function in any consistent manner.

That being said, where the significant factors in her inability to work remained her ability to use her hands for activities, not to mention her cognitive abilities in light of her headaches and fatigue, Katherine’s case could not be resolved in the ALJ’s eyes without her testimony at hearing. Indeed, as the ALJ was able to recognize at hearing through Katherine’s testimony, there could not have been a more deserving applicant for benefits and we were proud to represent her and her case at hearing.

If you’re looking for a skilled and knowledgeable Social Security disability lawyer who will fight for the benefits that you deserve and guide you through the process, call the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at (800) 773-8622 to discuss how they can make a difference in your case.