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Frustrations With The Social Security Administration Continue

I recently had a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge representing a pleasant 27 year old woman who we will call Jane. Jane is diagnosed with infantile cerebral palsy, among other conditions. This is a sad case that should never have went before a judge. Jane was already receiving disability thru Supplemental Security Income; however she attempted accommodated work and paid into Social Security enough to qualify for Social Security Disability Insurance. She was unable to continue to perform this work, even with the accommodations. She submitted her application for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits on October 14, 2021, unfortunately she did so without an attorney and failed to return additional reports the Social Security Administration (SSA) sent her to complete. While SSA partially based her denial on the failure to return documents the most egregious error was on the part of SSA.
The Social Security Administration has published listings where if an individual meets the listing they should be awarded benefits. There is a specific listing for individuals diagnosed with cerebral palsy. In order for a person to qualify for benefits under this listing they must have a disorganization of motor functioning in two extremities, resulting in an extreme limitation in the ability to stand up from a seated position, balance while standing or walking, or use the upper extremities. In a nutshell they must require bilateral canes to walk or a wheelchair.
Jane has required bilateral canes or the use of a wheelchair to get around since she was a child. Sadly in her denial SSA noted they evaluated the listing for cerebral palsy. owever there was contradictory information in Jane’s file from a visit in October 2021 that notes Jane was able to ambulate independently and handle personal care on her own. The medical record was as follows: “Can you dress independently? Yes. Can you keep yourself clean and groomed independently? Yes. Can you walk independently (as opposed to being bedridden)? Yes.” SSA used this one note, within hundreds of pages of medical records, to allege they were “unable to determine if bilateral canes or a wheelchair were required to ambulate”.
Although during the hearing the medical expert agreed Jane met the listing it will be at least a month, if not four to five months, before we receive the decision from the Administrative Law Judge to know if he is going to award Jane benefits. This is just one example of what I see on a daily basis of how the system is adversarial. I share this with all of our followers as a reminder, regardless of the facts of any specific case it is extremely important to get an attorney before filing any paperwork with SSA. We offer free consultations, so there no reason to try to apply and fight this system on your own. Please contact us before you apply. *information shared with permission from the client*
Attorney Hilts
Nation Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
The Missoui Bar
Illinois State Bar Association