April, 2017: Timothy’s Woburn, MA and Boston, MA ODAR Social Security Disability Claim
At first glance, Timothy’s case may not seem as though it would be one which would qualify an individual for Social Security disability benefits. However, understanding the intricacies of the Social Security regulations is extremely important: Timothy’s Timothy’s circumstances make it clear why obtaining a MA Social Security Disability lawyer when considering an application for benefits is so important.
We assisted Timothy with the filing of Social Security disability claim out of the Woburn, MA Social Security Administration (SSA) office. After assisting Timothy with the initial application materials, including a work history report, adult function report, 3rd party function report and with obtaining medical reports from both his cardiologist and his primary care physician, Timothy was found not medically disabled under Social Security’s rules through the Boston, MA Disability Determination Services (DDS) office. We assisted Timothy with his request for reconsideration and, following yet another denial, the Request for Hearing before an Administrative Law Judge process.
Timothy had contacted our office after a lengthy and productive work history working in a manufacturing setting. Fortunately, he had been working his entire career for the same company, a family run business, where he had been able to work his way from the bottom up, ultimately taking a leadership role with the company. Unfortunately, however, Timothy had been suffering for a number of years with a heart ailment (which included hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation) that, while manageable, was hindering his ability to undertake the normal functions of his job. Timothy’s employment ultimately ended as a result of financial decisions that had to be made by the family running the business, and following his loss of employment, Timothy did end up collecting unemployment benefits as he began looking for other employment.
In fact, recent Federal legislation has been proposed which would hinder the ability of an individual to receive Social Security disability benefits in the same month for which unemploymentbenefits are received. Timothy’s case is a prime example as to why the receipt of unemployment benefits while looking for a job is not inconsistent with the receipt of Social Security disability benefits as the two programs are asking two (2) very different things.
What is clear from looking at the nature of Timothy’s work in the manufacturing business, he was consistently required as part of his job to be on his feet and to be walking to various areas of the plant. This was becoming increasingly difficult for him and adjustments were only able to be made as to the manner of his oversight as he was, in essence, in charge of the plant operations from day to day. Given Timothy’s age at the time he became disabled (late 50’s) and the fact that even in his supervisory role his past prior work required him to stand for what would be 3 hours out of an 8 hour workday, this certainly surpassed the requirements of the sedentary exertional work (requiring the ability to perform light exertional work). Thus, the argument for purposes of Social Security disability benefits is that while 1) he might be capable of performing sedentary level work, 2) the Social Security Grid Rules, and specifically Medical Vocational Rule 201.06, would dictate that a finding of “disabled” is warranted as there would not be expected to be significant jobs existing in the national economy for which Timothy would be suited by his age, education and occupational experience.
Yet, at the same time, to Timothy’s credit, following his lay off from employment, he did seek other employment that would allow for his medical conditions to be accommodated. Unfortunately, much in the same way as the Social Security regulations presume, Timothy was not able to find a suitable job. There was very little overlap in terms of recovery of benefits as Social Security disability doesn’t pay for the first five (5) full months following one’s alleged onset date and the unemployment was received during the 26 week period following his going out of work. While it would have been appropriate for Timothy to consider applying both for Social Security disability benefits and unemployment benefits at the same time, as they are not contradictory in nature, to Timothy’s credit, he was hoping to find some manner of employment (and did not want to have to file for Social Security disability benefits).
I’m happy to say that with the assistance of both his primary care physician and cardiologist, in addressing the nature and severity of his condition and the extent to which they were hindering his ability to stand for lengths of time, we were able to succeed following a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) with a finding that at the very least Timothy met a Grid Rule.
It is important to get the advice you need before you start taking steps to file for Social Security benefits. Contact the Law Offices of Russell J. Goldsmith by calling us at 1-800-733-8622. We stand ready to guide you through the bureaucratic maze.