Scott's Boston, MA Social Security disability Fully Favorable Decision
Scott is a client out of the North Shore of Boston who had filed his initial Social Security disability claim out of the Salem, MA Social Security Administration District Office on his own. Upon receipt of his reconsideration denial, which he had likewise addressed on his own, he sought a Boston, MA Social Security lawyer, and contacted our office for assistance. Scott was claiming disability based on a number of medical conditions, which included Multiple Sclerosis, degenerative disk disease and mental health difficulties. Upon assisting Scott with the filing of his Request for Hearing, Scott’s claim was assigned to the Boston, MA Office of Hearing Operations.
There are 3 major categories of Multiple Sclerosis (MS): 1) Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS), 2) Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) and 3) Primary-Progressive MS (PPMS). Scott was diagnosed with suffering from Relapsing-Remitting MS, which is the most common diagnosis for those initially diagnosed with the condition, accounting for 80-85% of the initial diagnosis for those initially found to be suffering from the condition. The very fact that the condition can persist in an aggressive phase for what can be days, weeks or months, and the go into remission for what can be months or years means that it is difficult for one to establish entitlement to Social Security disability benefits (which requires one remain disabled from gainful employment for a year or longer) . For this reason, many individuals who apply too soon or before they are definitively diagnosed through proper diagnostic testing of the condition (such as through a spinal fluid tap or MRI imaging evidencing clinically significant plaque formation) find that they face denials by SSA. In Scott’s case, he had undertaken such a prior application and, having been denied, did not pursue the claim on that prior occasion.
Difficulties stemming from Multiple Sclerosis can involve a panoply of symptoms that can impact one’s ability to function during the day, and establishing that these symptoms can vary in their impact from hour to hour and day to day can make proving a case of MS difficult: whether it is fatigue, weakness generally or in one’s limbs, numbness and tingling along with loss of sensation, pain, sleep disruption, among others. In addition to issues with MS, Scott was suffering from difficulties stemming from degenerative disk disease involving his low back, along with radiating pain into this left leg.
Through working with Scott, our office was able to ensure a longitudinal history of treatment that made evident through the treatment records that his condition remained both severe and disabling. Scott followed through with spinal tap testing to confirm a diagnosis of MS, underwent significant efforts at pain management which included lidoderm patches, neurolytic medication among other forms of medication management, along with physical therapy. In addition, Scott maintained specialist care for his condition with a neurologist who assisted with a leg brace for the neurological deficit in his leg, and who continued to see him on a regular basis and document the clinical course of his MS (noting when he was suffering from exacerbations of his condition) and prescribing appropriate MS-related injection therapy to help prevent additional relapses of his condition.
Through consistent treatment records and a Multiple Sclerosis Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaire designed to address not only the clinical findings associated with Scott’s condition but also the nuanced set of symptoms and functional limitations associated with his condition, we were able to establish at the hearing level that Scott’s conditions had remained severe and disabling longer than a year such that any manner of gainful employment on a consistent basis had simply not been possible for him. Prior to hearing, as we always do for your clients, we provided a detailed argument letter to the judge setting for the reasons why the additional documentation provided at hearing now justified a fully favorable decision in the claim.
I’m happy to note that the presiding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) saw fit to provide a favorable decision in the claim such that Scott did not need to come into Boston for a hearing. While this is not possible in all cases, many times we are able to establish that one’s disability claim warrants a favorable decision based on the written record alone. And it is ordinarily the specialist records and medical reports that provide the basis for such a result.
Obtaining an experienced Social Security disability lawyer as early on in the process as one is able is always advisable given the difference they can make in guiding both the treatment one is undertaking and ensuring the Social Security forms addressed completely and in a manner that best makes the case for your disabling condition. Contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith at 1-800-773—8622 to see how we might be able to assist you with your claim or appeal.