Justia Lawyer Rating
Massachussets Bar Association
Maine state Bar

March, 2010: A Veteran’s Success Story by way of the Grid Rules

This month I received a favorable decision for a sixty (60) year old Veteran we'll call "Steve," who was alleging he became disabled as a result of his disabling conditions of Hepatitis C.  Steve’s case is an example of how an experienced Massachusetts Social Security Lawyer can make all the difference with one’s case.  Associated with this condition were symptoms of pain and fatigue issues, along with cervical pain associated with degenerative disk disease issues involving his neck which resulted in his experience of pain traveling into his arm resulting from a cervical radiculopathy.  Steve had been denied on his initial application out of the Lowell, MA Social Security District Office and, once again, on reconsideration by the time he had made his initial contact with our office. 

It is important to understand that many times a decision made by the Veterans Administration (VA), finding an individual totally unemployable, can serve to assist one with their Social Security disability application.  While the Social Security Administration (SSA) is not bound by such a determination given the Social Security rules differ in many regards from those of the VA, SSA is required to provide it consideration. 

Fortunately, Steve's physician at the Veteran's Administration was willing to go to bat for him by addressing a residual functional capacity assessment that addressed how limited Steve had been for quite some time. In addition, the Veteran's Administration's rating examinations and decisions were obtained which likewise provided very compelling evidence as to the long-term disabling effects of Steve's conditions.  As I mention elsewhere in my blog site, the Social Security Grid Rules many times serve as a mechanism for winning a case.  Initially, the Social Security regulations require that the Administrative Law judge hearing the case determine whether Steve is capable of returning to any of the prior types of jobs he’s performed during the 15 years prior to becoming disabled (called his Past Relevant Work).  Once it’s been determined that he remains incapable of performing this work, then in a circumstance of an individual who is 60 years old, one would be required to turn to the Grid Rules to see how Steve’s age, along with his education, past work history, potential transferable skills and functional limitations would impact his ability to transfer to other work that exists in the national economy in significant numbers either in their own region, or other regions of the country.

A review of the Grid rules certainly assisted Steve with his case given his past work experience involving a history of labor intensive jobs which required him to be on his feet throughout the day and to undertake a significant amount of heavy lifting throughout the day.  In looking at the Grid rules, with consideration given to his age, education and past work experience, along with consideration given to a residual functional capacity at an even less than sedentary work capacity, it became apparent that the a finding of “disabled” was now called for under Social Security’s rules.  

After accompanying Steve to hearing, I am happy to say that the ALJ hearing case was willing to recite a fully favorable decision on the record, at the time of his hearing.  Steve has received several years of retroactive benefits that have allowed him to take care of the many debts he incurred over the last several years.   Consequently, life has changed for the better as a result, and I am happy to have been able to guide and assist Steve in this process.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with a medical condition that’s keeping them from working, urge them to call a Social Security disability lawyer who has handled such cases for many years. At the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith we have assisted thousands of individuals get the financial assistance they need to survive.  Contact us now at (800) 773-8622.