Because you are disabled.

File for disability benefits.

Appeal your case.

How you presented your initial application was the best you could do at that time given what you knew and were told.

But, if you were not successful, appeal (1) because you are disabled and (2) because you can improve on your presentation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Borderline Intellectual Functioning and a Learning Disorder.

Among other issues considered by the court was the ALJ’s credibility determination.

The claimant argued that the ALJ improperly discounted her credibility because she failed to produce (corroborating) educational and treatment records.  The claimant was not represented at her hearing, but did obtain counsel for her federal court appeal. The reviewing court found that “the ALJ provided several other specific, clear, and convincing reasons for finding that plaintiff’s symptoms and functional limitations were not as severe as she alleged.”

In this case, “the ALJ specifically pointed to plaintiff’s generally good activities of daily living, which were ‘greater than one would expect for a totally disabled individual . . . .’”  (Citation omitted.)  The court noted that, “the ALJ observed that plaintiff’s work after the alleged disability onset date, although not representing disqualifying substantial gainful activity, nonetheless indicated that her daily activities have been greater than alleged.”

Citing medical records, the ALJ reported that “although plaintiff told Dr. Georgis that she did not take any drugs and told Dr. Woodard that she had no substance abuse issues (only having tried marijuana twice at the age of 20), plaintiff testified at the hearing that she had used marijuana and crystal methamphetamine earlier that year.”

The court affirmed the ALJ’s unfavorable decision.


1.  Especially where there are limited medical records, to make a convincing case for disability, claimants have to detail (in Social Security disability application forms and in testimony) their difficulties in activities of daily living and why they were unable to continue working.

2.  The adjudicator, after determining to deny the disability claim, may review medical records looking for statements that contradict statements made at the hearing.

Hernandez v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 2:12-cv-2605-KJN (D. E.D. Calif., Jan. 10, 2014).

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