Mr. C, in his early 20s, had been diagnosed with MS and HIV. He was originally denied his benefits at the first hearing because the Judge was too focused on Mr. C’s age. Even though I requested SSA perform a consultative examination, which supported Mr. C’s disability, the Judge failed to provide an opportunity for me to review the report to offer supporting arguments, and denied the claim. This was a reversible legal error, so after appealing the denial to the Appeals Council, they agreed and returned the case to the Judge with instructions on how to properly evaluate Mr. C’s case. At the second hearing, I invoked the client’s right to cross examine the consultative doctor (which is not discretionary by the Judge). The doctor testified at the 2nd hearing, and continued to support Mr. C’s disability claims, even explaining in great detail why he supported those claims. Mr. C is now receiving a monthly income, along with Medicare benefits, which is what he wanted all along so he could find a private doctor to treat his MS and HIV. Someone’s age should never be used against him or her when applying for disability benefits, but having a Board Certified attorney who knows the intricacies of Social Security law is the best way to avoid such prejudice by an Administrative Law Judge.
$9,000+ back pay (21 months of back pay) and ongoing monthly benefits