November, 2017 Kathryn’s Social Security Disability Claim out of Malden, MA and Boston, MA
Kathryn began searching for a Massachusetts Social Security lawyer after filing her own Social Security disability claim through her Malden, MA Social Security Administration (SSA) office. When she initially contacted our office, we knew Kathryn’s disability claim would be challenging given she was applying for disability benefits primarily based on difficulties stemming from Fibromyalgia. We knew from the very beginning that her claim was going to require corroborating medical documentation supporting Katheryn’s complaints. Likewise, we knew it was a case that would require her, ultimately, to appear front of an administrative law judge for hearing (ALJ) given the nature of her condition.
Kathryn is a hardworking and kind woman in her early fifties (50s) who has a strong work history that consisted of work as a counter helper at a dry cleaners and as an inseat runner for TD Garden. When evaluating whether a disability claim will stand up to the scrutiny of an ALJ, it is the story told by the medical records and the work history that is going to be the most compelling. We look to see whether our potential client was a hard worker up until the time they indicate they were last medically capable of working: do they show a strong work history, and, also, do the medical records depict the decline in their condition.
Kathryn’s medical records evidenced the fact that her Fibromyalgia started acting out of control at the point in time that her thyroid began acting up. Her myalgias only worsened as a side effect of the medication that she was required to take for her hyperthyroidism. Attempts were made to take her off the medication, and then to place her back on it, only to discover that the second time around the medications caused her condition to become remarkably worse. Injuries to her muscles were confirmed by way of objective lab tests (an elevated CPK test), and a referral to a specialist (a rheumatologist) was made at that time reflecting the seriousness of her symptomatology. There were multiple hospitalizations during this time: first, for pain in her back, arms and legs which is noted to be achy and worse with movement, and the second time for significant chest pain issues. She is noted at this time to be experiencing a burning pain that is traveling down her waist. Medication management is noted to include steroidal treatment, narcotics and muscle relaxants, reflecting the serious nature of the symptoms she’s experiencing. Likewise, additional testing is undertaken to rule out other causes, such as Lyme disease or arthritis-related conditions, such that a confirming diagnosis can be made of Fibromyalgia by her treating rheumatologist. Moreover, her rheumatologist undertakes a comprehensive physical examination whereby he identifies multiple tender points in areas typical for Fibromyalgia, noting that she therefore meets the diagnostic criteria for Fibromyalgia.
Subsequent treatment records reflect significant follow-up on Katheryn’s part in an effort to find an answer to the pain she’s experiencing: medication management (which includes muscle relaxants, narcotics and neurolytics, such as Gabapentin), injection therapy and lidoderm patches. Likewise, of great importance is the fact that she continued to maintain consistent treatment not only with her primary care provider, but also her specialist (her rheumatologist). As a result, both doctors were willing to assist with her Social Security appeal documentation, addressing very supportive medical questionnaires detailing both their objective findings and her functional limitations.
With the ability to tell Katheryn’s story so clearly as a result of her treatment providers’ terrific record keeping, and Katheryn’s great attendance, we were able to provide a compelling argument brief ahead of time to the judge and make very strong arguments at hearing that served to obtain for her a fully favorable decision at hearing.
If you find that you simply cannot maintain employment as a result of chronic and debilitating medical problems, contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at (800) 773-8622 to see how we might be able to assist you with your disability claim or appeal.