Chicago Workers’ Compensation Lawyers & Illinois Injury Lawyers

How ‘Stale’ Medical Evidence Gave One Illinois Man a Second Chance at SSI, Disability Insurance Benefits

| Apr 23, 2018 | Social Security |

Seeking to obtain Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance benefits can be challenging. There may be lots of evidence and documents needed to obtain a successful result. To give yourself a strong chance of success, you need an experienced Illinois Social Security attorney to make certain that your case has everything that it needs to get you the favorable result that you deserve.

One man who took his case all the way to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to achieve a successful result was Alejandro. Alejandro’s work-related medical problems began in 2006 when he fell off a scaffold while taping drywall. The man sought medical attention for his back injury, but the doctors found no fracture. When the pain did not go away, the man sought more treatment, and doctors discovered an injury to the spinal nerve root. The worker sought the care of a clinical psychologist for his constant pain. That doctor concluded that Alejandro displayed depressed mood, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and memory problems.

Based on the significance of his back injury, Alejandro filed a claim for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance. The ALJ reviewed the evidence and concluded that Alejandro was not disabled. The ALJ decided that the worker suffered from “severe impairments—lumbar disc disease, myofascial pain syndrome, left knee pain, obesity, and depression,” but these problems did not limit Alejandro to such an extent that he could not work. Alejandro could do light work with some restrictions, according to the judge. One of the pieces of evidence upon which the judge relied was a 2007 report from a psychologist, to which the judge gave “great weight.”

While losing at this hearing, Alejandro eventually was successful at the Seventh Circuit. The judge’s reliance on the 2007 psychologist report was a key reason why the denial of Alejandro’s claim was reversed. The law says that a judge “should not rely on an outdated assessment if later evidence containing new, significant medical diagnoses reasonably could have changed the reviewing physician’s opinion.” In Alejandro’s situation, there was newer information that served to make the 2007 report outdated, so the judge should not have relied upon it so heavily.

A claimant’s medical condition is, like the medical condition of almost anyone, a fluid thing that is prone to change. Since it is changeable, it is important that the information that is used as the basis for granting or denying benefits be an accurate reflection of the claimant’s medical condition at the time of the decision. A decision that relies upon “stale analysis” cannot stand.

There are many ins and outs that can make all of the difference between a favorable result and an unsuccessful one in a Social Security benefits case. To make sure you have what you need to get your benefits, make sure you have legal counsel experienced in fighting successfully for disabled people. The determined Chicago Social Security attorneys at Katz, Friedman, Eisenstein, Johnson, Bareck & Bertuca can help you handle your SSI and disability benefits case. To set up a free case evaluation, contact us at 312-724-5846 or through our website.

More Blog Posts:

I worked all my life and then had a stroke. I need disability. But I’m so ashamed., Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Aug. 11, 2017

Social Security Disability and spinal cord injuries, Chicago Injury Attorneys Blog, Jan. 12, 2015