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October, 2010: The Difference an Aggressive Social Security Lawyer can make

Sandy's case is a perfect example of how an aggressive attorney, specializing in Social Security disability, can make a big difference. Sandy is a 50 year old woman who had been represented by an attorney who, while seemingly familiar with Social Security disability claims, was not a specialist in this area.  Quite frankly, the lawyer she had hired was doing little more than hand holding, with no sense of the types of documentation he should be helping Sandy obtain from her treating physicians.  Likewise, he was providing no review of her application materials or submissions and really was nothing more than a courier for his client.

Sandy had been suffering from Fibromyalgia fdor a number of years and fortunately had the benefit of working with a rheumatologist, who (for those who are unaware) is a doctor that specializes in this condition. In fact, the American College of Rheumatology came up with the medical classification for Fibromyalgia back in 1990, and so she clearly was in the right hands for her treatment. Unfortunately, the former attorney handling the case had failed to emphasize the importance of getting the rheumatologist to address the extent of Sandy's functional limitations (and to address, in detail, the objective findings that satisfy the criteria for proving that one is properly classified as suffering from Fibromyalgia). Sandy had spent a good two (2) years in the process of trying to prove her case, only to be denied twice; once on her initial application and, once again, on her request for reconsideration.  When she contacted our office initially, Sandy was waiting for hearing to be held at the Portland, Maine Office of Disability Adjudication and Review, with no response from her attorney as to what they were doing to help establish her claim. 

By undertaking a quick review of her case and determining what was missing, we were able to work with Sandy and her doctor to ensure that the necessary documentation of her condition was presented (along with additional, updated treatment records and an argument brief).   Many attorneys do not realize, or simply realize but do not make an effort to undertake a brief in support of their client’s case.  Unfortunately, this becomes a missed opportunity, as is clear from the success stories we’ve posted: not infrequently, we’re able to obtain a fully favorable decision for our clients without the need to go to hearing. 

I am happy to say that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) assigned to hear Sandhy’s claim was receptive to our arguments and, indeed, were in agreement that the rheumatologist’s opinions concerning the nature and severity of her condition were entitled to receive great weight as part of his consideration of her claim pre-hearing.  As a result, we were able to turn matters around quite quickly for Sandy at the hearing level.  Sandy and her husband's financial woes were fortunately addressed in a relatively short time following our involvement by way of the fully favorable decision we were able to obtain for her prior to the need to proceed to hearing. 

If you or a love one are finding that your lawyer is not providing you answers as to what they are doing in support of your claim in an attempt to obtain for you a fully favorable decision prior to the need to go to hearing, it may be appropriate to seek a second opinion regarding your case.