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Disability Law Claims Blog

The staff at LaVan & Neidenberg cares about the disabled and we are passionate about  the issues that affect those who are applying or waiting for Social Security Disability, Veterans' Disability Compensation, and/or Long-Term Disability Insurance benefits. We make it a point to blog about important topics such as advances in the various disability claims processes, advances in medicine, upgrades to the various disability benefits programs, and much more.

The personal injury division of our company often reports on the tri-county area's traffic accidents. The reporting of traffic accidents in no way means or implies that we represent any of the individuals involved. However, we do wish those involved a speedy recovery and we send our condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones in an automobile accident.

Join us in a discussion today or contact us for a FREE evaluation of your case.

   


Blog Category:
12/16/2008
Aaron M.
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Obesity can cause significant non-exertional limitations.  The following example was taken from a Social Security Disability case our company is currently appealing. In his decision, the administrative law judge (ALJ) states that the claimant is morbidly obese and she is unable to bend to tie her shoes. State agency Dr. Catano conducted a consultative examination on November 24, 2007, and concluded the claimant suffered from chronic low back pain syndrome and morbid obesity.  Dr. Catano concluded the claimant was 5' 0' and weighed 260 pounds, indicating a body mass index (BMI) of 50.77 and level III obesity (extreme obesity).  On physical examination, Dr. Catano concluded the claimant had tenderness and spasm in the lower back; positive straight-leg raising tests; and painful ambulation secondary to lower back pain and obesity.  The ALJ fails to mention and completely disregards that Dr. Catano concluded the claimant had significant range of motion limitations in the lumbar spine.  It should be noted, the ALJ accords controlling weight to Dr. Catano's medical opinion.  Treatment notes dated August 27, 2008, from Dr. Brooks, the claimant's treating chiropractor, confirmed the claimant continued to suffer from chronic low back pain and headaches.

In this case, the claimant suffers from severe lower back pain, headaches, and morbid obesity, resulting in significant non-exertional limitations.  Therefore, the ALJ was required to consult with a vocational expert due to the finding of non-exertional impairments.  This legal error requires reversal of the ALJ's decision and remand and requirement of vocational expert testimony to testify as to claimant's abilities.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/16/2008
Aaron M.
Comments (0)

In some instances, the Appeals Council will remand a case back to the administrative law judge (ALJ) who denied the claim.  The Appeals Council provides specific instructions that the ALJ must follow in deciding the claim.  In this particular remand order, the Appeals Council ordered the ALJ to give further consideration to the claimant's treating source opinions and explain the weight given to such opinion evidence.  Although the ALJ cited to the remand order in his decision, he disregarded the Appeals Council's order and failed to explain whether Dr. Jean-Louis's medical opinion should be given great or little weight in this case.

In his decision, the ALJ briefly mentioned that the claimant treated with Dr. Jean-Louis at Jefferson Reaves from 2005 through at least July 2008.  In addition, the ALJ cited to the residual functional capacity assessment completed by Dr. Jean-Louis on July 11, 2008.  However, the ALJ failed to evaluate any of Dr. Jean-Louis's treatment notes and failed to evaluate Dr. Jean-Louis's July 2008 assessment.  Moreover, the ALJ clearly failed to explain whether Dr. Jean-Louis's medical opinion should be given great or little weight in this case.

Treatment notes dated October 17, 2007, from Dr. Jean-Louis, showed the claimant was diagnosed with chronic low back pain with associated left lower extremity weakness.  Dr. Jean-Louis's treatment notes, dated December 12, 2007, confirmed the claimant continued to suffer from chronic back pain with associated weakness and paresthesias.  On July 11, 2008, Dr. Jean-Louis stated the claimant was diagnosed with chronic low back pain with poor prognosis and symptoms including pain and weakness.  In addition, Dr. Jean-Louis limited the claimant to sitting for 20 minutes at one time; standing for 10 minutes at one time; taking unscheduled breaks every 1-2 hours lasting 15 minutes each; never lifting 20 pounds; and being absent more than 4 days per month as a result of her severe impairments.

The ALJ had a duty to evaluate all of the claimant's treating physicians and explain the weight given to such opinion evidence.  It should be noted, Dr. Jean-Louis's residual functional capacity assessment clearly precludes the claimant from performing any job on a full time basis and is consistent with his ongoing treatment notes since 2005.  As a result, the ALJ's decision should be reversed and benefits granted, or in the alternative, the matter remanded to give further consideration to the medical conclusions of all the claimant's treating source opinions.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve. 



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/16/2008
Aaron M.
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During a Social Security Disability hearing with an agency-appointed vocational expert, an administrative law judge (ALJ) may pose a hypothetical situation to the vocational expert to determine what jobs a person with similar impairments and limitaions can do on a full time basis. The following is an actual example of said tactic:

At our client's Social Security Disability hearing, the ALJ posed an incomplete hypothetical situation to the vocational expert, which did not include all of our client's severe impairments and associated limitations.  The ALJ's hypothetical scenario failed to include specific limitations in our client's left hand and arm and failed to address our client's limitations resulting from using her medically prescribed cane.

In this case, the ALJ had a duty to pose a proper hypothetical scenario to the vocational expert, which includes all of the claimant's severe impairments and associated limitations.  This legal error requires reversal of the ALJ's decision or remand for further proceedings.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/16/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

In evaluating whether a claimant could perform his past work, the work must first be determined to have met the monetary requirement of substantial gainful activity.  After it is determined that substantial gainful activity was achieved, the court can then consider whether the claimant has the ability to do his past work when all medical conditions are considered, and therefore make a decision as to whether the claimant is disabled.  Roberts v. Apfel, 27 F.Supp.2d 1295, 1298 (N.D.Ala. 1998). The record indicates that the claimant made under substantial gainful activity of about $1,000 for 3 years from 2000 through 2006.  These yearly incomes are far from the monetary requirements of substantial gainful activity.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/16/2008
Natale B.
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A judge may not always follow the laws...

A judge may not always follow the laws...

Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/10/2008
Aaron M.
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Some administrative law judge (ALJ) do not properly follow Social Security rules and improperly evaluate the claimant's treating physician's medical records. The following is an example: 

In her decision, the ALJ failed to mention and completely disregarded that the claimant treated with Dr. Vacker in 2006. Dr. Vacker's treatment notes, dated July 26, 2006, confirmed the claimant suffered from neuropathy in both feet for one and a half years, bilateral ankle edema (swelling), anemia, and urinary tract infection (UTI). On physical examination, Dr. Vacker found the claimant had no sensation to pin prick in her feet. Dr. Vacker stated the claimant was unable to stand at work and was fired due to her condition. On August 9, 2006, Dr. Vacker noted the claimant had no improvement in her condition from her prescribed medications and continued to suffer from neuropathy in both feet and anemia. In this case, the ALJ had a duty to consider and evaluate all of the claimant's treating sources. Clearly, Dr. Vacker's conclusions impact the claimant's residual functional capacity, SSR 96-8p, and accordingly Dr. Vacker should have been given great weight.

Social Security Ruling 96-2p establishes a two-step sequential process for determining whether a treating physician's opinion should be given controlling weight.  First, the ALJ must determine whether the treating physician opinion is "well-supported" by acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques."  Second, the ALJ must confirm that the opinion is consistent with other substantial evidence in the record.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/10/2008
Aaron M.
Comments (0)

Vocational experts are sometimes used as witnesses in Social Security disability hearings. The purpose of a vocational expert is to provide testimony to the judge on what jobs the claimant may be able to competitively sustain in the work force.  If a vocational expert testifies at the hearing that there are not any jobs the claimant can perform than the judge should find the claimant disabled. For example, a claimant with the following mental impairments may be determined disabled if the vocational expert testifies that the claimant cannot sustain any job.

Medical records from the claimant's psychiatrist state that the claimant cannot concentrate and will have to take a break for 15 minutes every hour. The records also state that the claimant will have to miss 2 days of work per month because they are depressed and cry for several hours during those 2 days. The doctor give the claimant a consistent GAF score of 50.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/10/2008
Aaron M.
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When you apply for Social Security disability - the Social Security Administration may send you to consultative exams or give your file to someone to review and evaluate your physical or mental problems. When you look through your own file make sure that Social Security does not include any reviews by non-doctor evaluators. If the reviewer is not a doctor or psychologist, make sure to contact an representative so that you can prevent Social Security from relying on this information.  Here is an example of a bad Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) evaluation: 

On October 7, 2007, Social Security sent your file to a person who is not a doctor. The non-doctor states that you can work for 8 hours a day and that he does not think you have any significant problems. You will want to challenge this RFC because it was not completed by a doctor.   

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/8/2008
Natale B.
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In a recent Social Security Disability benefits case the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg appealed, the admimistrative law judge (ALJ) misstates facts from the evidence of record and therefore does not make an accurate assessment of the severity of our client's impairments.  The ALJ states that the state agency psychologists have found that the claimant's impairments do not meet or medically equal any impairment from the *The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency.Commissioner's Listings.  However, Disability Determination Services' (DDS) Dr. Jacobs completed a psychological consultative exam with the claimant on March 5, 2007, finding that the child had a mathematics disorder and moderate mental retardation.  The state agency psychologist personally administered a WIAT-III test and a WISC-IV test, finding that the claimant had a full scale IQ of 49.  The doctor reported this was a valid IQ score. The doctor continued to state that this score indicated a cognitive ability within the extremely low range of intellectual functioning, and therefore would be considered a Listing level impairment. 

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/8/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Often times the Social Security Administration will employ a medical expert to evaluate a disability claimant's medical records on the agency's behalf. However, in a case our company is currently appealing, the agency decided to forego the services of a medical expert (ME). This presented an issue when the administrative law judge (ALJ) failed to consider and give great weight to the medical opinions or treatment notes of our client's treating psychologist and orthopedic at the Veterans' Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) of Miami and Oakland Park.  The ALJ also failed to accurately explain why great weight was not given. Moreover, the ALJ failed to consider the non-exertional limitations presented in the evidence of record by the treating sources.  This ALJ would have greatly benefited from a medical expert's testimony in order to evaluate the records or to explain any discrepancies in the record.  In light of the absence of a medical expert at the hearing, the ALJ did not explain why great weight was not given to the treating psychologist.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/8/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg are in the process of appealing a recent decision we received for one of our clients in which a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) gave great weight to the opinions of the state agency's non-examining doctors, and to the Children's Disability Evaluation Forms (CDEFs) they used, when developing his mental capacity assessment (MCA).

our company is contesting that each of the Disability Determination Services (DDS) evaluation forms should be given little weight because neither of the state agency's non-examining doctors, Dr. McCallister nor Dr. Clark, specializes in pediatric psychology. Both have experience in treating adults.  Moreover, these assessments are completed by the state agency's examiners who never saw the claimant.  Therefore, the ALJ drew his MCA from an inappropriate source. 

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve. 



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/8/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

When a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ) does not consider or evaluate all of a claimant's severe impairments, but rather only lists them, the ALJ is not able to accurately assess the impact of these impairments on the claimant's day-to-day functioning and ability to work.

This would be cause for requesting an appeal if your claim for disability benefits has been denied.

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve. 



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/8/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

A medical expert (ME) can be enlisted by the Social Security to evaluate a claimant's medical records and give their expert testimony about the evidence provided. However, this is not always the case.

The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg are appealing a decision where an ME was not employed and a result, the administrative law judge (ALJ) erroneously found that our client can perform light work even though he has been diagnosed as disabled and unable to work by his treating source, Dr. Morariu. Without expert testimony, the ALJ failed to draw an accurate residual functional capacity (RFC) for the claimant and did not understand how the non-exertional limitations affect the claimant's daily functioning. 

The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/5/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Under Social Security Ruling (SSR) 96-3p, an impairment is considered severe if it ‘significantly limits an individual's physical or mental abilities to do basic work activities.' Under SSR-96-3p, an impairment that is ‘not severe' must be a slight abnormality that has no more than a minimal effect on the ability to do basic work activities.  Many times, our clients will suffer from a primary disability, as well as 1 to 4 comorbid conditions that also inflict severe limitations on their ability to do basic work. 

We've appealed cases where an administrative law judge (ALJ) will exclude a claimant's comorbid conditions from their decision-making and only consider their primary disability as a ‘severe impairment'. And, consequently, the ALJ will deny their claim for disability benefits when clearly, if included, their comorbid conditions present major limitations. For example, the Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg recently appealed a Social Security disability case where an ALJ labeled our client's back condition and degenerative disc disease as a severe impairment, but did not classify their diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a severe impairment. It is no secret that PTSD can significantly limit an individual's mental abilities, which is why we fought to reverse the ALJ's decision.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/5/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

The Law Offices of LaVan & Neidenberg will come across Social Security Disability cases where an administrative law judge (ALJ) will commit a reversible error when considering a claimant's medical evidence.  This is when the ALJ does not consider the entire record in their decision-making.  When assessing each medical record in the decision, the ALJ may disregard all of the problems listed in each medical record, to purposely diminish the claimant's chronic conditions.  In one particular case our company recently appealed, the ALJ did not mention or cite to a single record from the claimant's Veterans' Affairs Medical Center (VAMC).  The claimant's treating psychologist and treating orthopedic are located at the VAMC.  The ALJ only considers medical records from state agency doctors, many of whom never even saw the claimant.  The claimant has a long standing treatment record at the VAMC of Miami, and the ALJ is required to review the entire record.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/5/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

An ALJ must consider all of your impairments!

An ALJ must consider all of your impairments!

Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/2/2008
Aaron M.
Comments (0)

Many claimant's are awarded Social Security disability benefits as a result of a severe mental impairment and associated limitations.  However, some Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) fail to find that a claimant's mental impairment is severe. When an ALJ disagrees with the claimant's disgnosis, he/she must state with specificity where in the record their conclusions are substantiated. A claimant's treating psychiatrist may diagnose them with major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, retarded psychomotor activity, depressed and anxious mood, and impaired concentration.  Diminished Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) scores below 50, indicate serious impairments in communication and judgment and inability to function in almost all areas.  A psychiatrist's treatment notes should include the specific diagnosis and symptoms, such as generalized anxiety disorder with panic attacks, retarded psychomotor activity, dysthymic mood, and impaired concentration. 

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/2/2008
Aaron M.
Comments (0)

Though many of the Social Security's Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) give a claimant's treating source great weight, we find that this is not always the case.  In some instances, the ALJ will give significant weight to the opinions of the state agency's non-examining physicians.  When this happens, the ALJ must explain why he/she is discrediting the claimant's treating physicians.  An ALJ has a duty to explain whether the claimant's treating physicians should be given great or little weight.  In addition, the ALJ must obtain medical expert testimony to contradict the conclusions of the claimant's treating physicians.  If the ALJ deos not adequately explain why he is discrediting the claimant's treating sources, then reversal of the ALJ's decision is warranted or remand for further proceedings to give further consideration to the opinions of the claimant's treating physicians.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg has helped thousands of claimants secure their Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

12/2/2008
Aaron M.
Comments (0)

Nonexertional Impairments: what are they??

Nonexertional Impairments: what are they??

Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Administrative Law Judge (ALJ): D. Kevin Dugan
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

In addressing the decision written by Judge Dugan, the claimant took several courses of action which strengthened her case at the hearing level.  First, the claimant treated with a primary physician, consistently, every 2 months, in order to have her diagnosis and severe symptoms documented and properly treated.  Treatment notes from her primary physician showed the claimant suffered from continuous and chronic fatigue associated with her multiple sclerosis.  The doctor documented these symptoms every 2 months for 5 years!  This is powerful evidence to present to the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) at the hearing.  Additionally, the claimant had a neurologist, who treated her specific disease of multiple sclerosis and the specific symptoms that accompanied the disease.  Having a doctor who treats and specializes in your particular impairment will allow for a more detailed presentation of medical evidence to the ALJ.  If you have strong, detailed treatment notes from a specialist, the ALJ will find it more difficult to dispute or deny this first hand evidence.  Finally, the claimant suffered from depression and anxiety due to her debilitating multiple sclerosis.  Even though the claimant's psychological impairments weren't her primary, disabling condition, it is extremely important that she saw a psychiatrist every 3 months, documenting her symptoms.  When you combine the medical evidence from the primary physician, the neurologist, and psychiatrist, you build a very powerful and indisputable case.

To read the entire Social Security Disability decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure her Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Administrative Law Judge: Ruben Rivera Jr.
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

In the posted decision by Judge Rivera, the claimant submitted evidence of multiple medical imaging studies of his heart and cardiac conditions.  The claimant had a specialist, a cardiologist, who documented the claimant's diagnoses and severe symptoms on a monthly basis.  Having a doctor who treats and specializes in your particular impairment will allow for a more detailed presentation of medical evidence to the ALJ.  If you have strong, detailed treatment notes from a specialist, the ALJ will find it more difficult to dispute or deny this first hand evidence.  The cardiologist completed an electrocardiogram, commonly known as an EKG, which documented the claimant's extremely low ejection fractions, cardiac arrhythmias, and cardiac ischemia.  This medical data is excellent evidence for building a strong disability claim based on a cardiac dysfunction.

To read the judge's full decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure his Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.  



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Administrative Law Judge: Jose G. Rolon-Rivera 
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

In this case, the Administrative Law Judge addresses the fact that the claimant can not do the full range of sedentary work.  If you are limited to less than sedentary work, as stated in this decision, you will be found disabled by the Social Security Administration.  Sedentary work, as defined by the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, involves lifting no more than 10 pounds at a time and occasionally lifting and carrying articles like, docket files, ledgers, and small tools, and sitting with occasional walking and standing. Although sitting is primarily involved in a sedentary job, walking and standing should be required only occasionally. Standing and walking should total no more than 2 hours per 8 hour workday, while sitting would total about 6 hours per 8 hour workday. Most unskilled sedentary jobs demand good manual dexterity for repetitive hand and finger motions.


To read the judge's full decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure her Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve. 



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)

Administrative Law Judge: Dean W. Determan
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

In point (1) of the Judge's decision, the Judge addresses SGA or substantial gainful activity.  The claimant was NOT engaged in SGA, or an allowable amount of monthly earnings, designated by the Social Security Administration.  If the claimant had made SGA, the claimant would not have been eligible for Social Security disability and therefore denied at the hearing.  The SGA is adjusted each year to reflect increases in the cost of living in your area.

To read the judge's full decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure his Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve. 



Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)
Administrative Law Judge: Carolyn J. Van Duzer
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

In addressing the decision written by Judge Van Duzer, the claimant took several courses of action which strengthened her case at the hearing level.  First, the claimant had a neurologist at the Epilepsy Foundation, who treated her specific seizure disorder and the symptoms that accompanied the disorder.  Having a doctor who treats and specializes in your particular impairment will allow for a more detailed presentation of medical evidence to the Judge.  If you have strong, detailed treatment notes from a specialist, the ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) will find it more difficult to dispute or deny the first hand evidence.  Secondly, the claimant suffered from depression and anxiety due to her debilitating seizure disorder and declining cognitive state.  The claimant had a psychologist at the Epilepsy Foundation who treated the claimant at least once every 3 months, documenting her symptoms.  When you combine the medical evidence from the primary physician, the neurologist, at the Epilepsy Foundation, and psychiatrist at the same facility, you build a very powerful and indisputable case.

To read this entire decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure her Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.


Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs

11/17/2008
Natale B.
Comments (0)
Administrative Law Judge: Carolyn J. Van Duzer
Office of Disability Adjudication & Review (ODAR): Ft. Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida & Palm Beach County, Florida

The ALJ (Administrative Law Judge) makes reference to a GAF score or Global Assessment of Functioning, which is a 100 point tool rating overall psychological, social and occupational functioning of people 18 years of age and older.  However, excludes physical and environmental impairments.  Any GAF score below 55 demonstrates moderate to serious difficulties in social or occupational functioning.

To read page 2 of the Judge's decision, click here.

*The Law Office of LaVan & Neidenberg helped this claimant secure her Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits. Our representatives have years of experience with arguing disability cases in front of Administrative Law Judges and cross-examining the medical and vocational experts appointed by the agency. 

Visit our Social Security Disability practice page for more information or call us for a FREE evaluation of your case. We can't take away your pain, but we can lift you from your burden and help you collect the disability benefits you deserve.


Category: Appeals & Legal Briefs