July, 2017: Leonard’s Favorable Decision following Hearing out of Brockton, MA and the Boston, MA ODAR (now OHO)
Leonard’s case is yet another example of how having an experienced Massachusetts Social Security disability lawyer (with offices in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire) can make a big difference in your SSDI claim and appeal. Leonard is a sixty-four (64) year old gentleman with a general studies college degree and an Associate’s Degree in radiology who had worked many years as both an x-ray and MRI technologist. Leonard contacted our office prior to the filing of his initial claim, and this turned out to be a fortunate decision for him. Leonard was a consistent worker for many years and the thought of early retirement (and collecting Social Security early retirement) was not something he was considering or interested in doing.
Leonard had been having increasing problems over a great many years with his low back and this was at times beginning to hinder his work. He had treated for a good many years with a chiropractor, and because of this was not being properly diagnosed as to the nature and severity of his medical condition (which is not to mention that his treatment options with a chiropractor remained quite limited: they could not prescribe for him medications, undertaken injection therapy, order MRI or CT scans or for that matter undertake surgery). Moreover, chiropractors are not considered acceptable medical sources under Social Security’s rules, and for this reason, they can establish a diagnosis for one of their patients with the Social Security Administration.
Unfortunately for Leonard, he discontinued working at a point in time where the only practitioner familiar with his condition was his chiropractor. Once his condition had taken an even more severe turn for the worse, he then sought treatment with his primary care physician who fortunately saw fit to refer him for both a physical therapist and a neurologist (and from there he was referred by the neurologist for an MRI, which evidenced degenerative disk issues at both the lumbar and thoracic levels). Leonard remained a bit resistant to treatment given how long-term his back problems had remained, and it was difficult to convince Leonard of the need to follow-up with his neurologist (and ultimately a psychiatrist for the mental health problems he was experiencing). It was only through his willingness to remain in treatment that we were able to show through the treatment records the ongoing nature of his symptoms and how his conditions continued to remain severe and disabling.
While Leonard was denied at the initial level following an initial application out of the Brockton, MA District Office (and a denial following his request for reconsideration), the fact that he maintained treatment with his primary care provider, neurologist and with a psychiatrist (and that these 3 individuals were willing to provide supportive medical questionnaires to address his diagnoses, symptoms, objective findings, treatment efforts and resulting functional limitations made a huge difference when it came time to requesting a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. The ALJ presiding over the case came to understand that Leonard required adjustments from sitting and standing such that he would not be able to return to any of his past relevant work nor did he have any transferable skills from his past work that would allow him to return to any jobs that exist in the national economy that would allow for such adjustments in posture during the day.
Sometimes, some of the best advice a Social Security lawyer can provide you is to remain in consistent treatment with specialists and to follow their recommendations. Ultimately, assuming such treatment is not successful, it will help support a claim that you remain totally disabled from all forms of gainful employment as required under Social Security’s rules and regulations.
If you or someone in your household is finding it difficult to work as a result of significant medical circumstances, suggest they give a call to the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith: we’ve been helping the New England’s disabled, out of Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire with their Social Security disability claims for the past 33 years. Contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith now at (800) 773-8622.