September, 2011: A Strong Work Ethic Creates Good Will
James's case is a forty-six (46) year old gentleman who worked the majority of his working life as a landscaper/property maintenance worker. In fact, he continued to work part-time for a relative of his who ran town works department and allowed him to work a very irregular schedule, accomplishing the tasks that he could during the course of the hours that he was able. Notwithstanding this continued work, the nature of the work was obviously not of a gainful nature (that is to say, his hours were irregular, significantly less than 40 hours per week and provided significantly less than the $1000.00 per month which constitutes gainful employment). Unfortunately, over the years of his work as a landscaper, James began to experience a number of medical problems which included neck and back disk problems, knee difficulties, migraines and depression. James continued to work many years after suffering serious injuries in an automobile accident, but his continued line of work only made his problems worse. The nature of James's problems, however, were not amenable to surgical solutions. To his credit, however, James made matters easy for his attorney and for the judge by showing his constant work ethic as well as his continued efforts at treatment for his various medical conditions (including various injections for his cervical disk issues, bracing for his knees, knee injections, physical therapy, a TENS unit and narcotic medication). Over time, James's hours first as a self-employed individual and then as a town worker became fewer and fewer (and so did his earnings). By maintaining such longstanding and continuing treatment for his conditions, James certainly won the support and advocacy of his primary care doctor (who was well aware of his struggle and willing to comment on the extent of James's disabling conditions). Based on this medical history and the evidence we were able to obtain on James's behalf, James did not have to wait to go to a hearing. Instead, the presiding Administrative Law Judge at the Portland Office of Disability Adjudication and Review saw fit to grant the On the Record fully favorable decision based on the argument brief that I provided to him months in advance of hearing. I am happy to say that life has changed for the better for James, who is a single father: he is now able to provide a much better life for his daughter and himself as a result of his successful disability application.