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.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rheumatoid Arthritis, Hypothyroidism, Migraine Headaches, Fibromyalgia, Right Lung Lesion and Cervical Spondylosis.

The claimant raised two issues in her appeal:  whether the Administrative Law Judge erred in considering her pain and credibility and in evaluating the state agency medical opinions.

The court was satisfied that the ALJ “assessed the totality of the medical evidence as presented to him in evaluating whether Plaintiff’s testimony regarding her pain was consistent with the medical records.”  The court reported the conclusions of the ALJ’s opinion:

“Plaintiff’s and her husband’s statements of record reveal that Plaintiff engages in more daily activities than she testified. . . . For example, the ALJ noted, Plaintiff independently cares for her personal needs, provides care to their cat, cooks large batches of food to freeze, reads, watches television, uses a computer for email, drives, and accompanies her husband to the store at times. .  . . The ALJ noted that Plaintiff told a consulting psychologist that her average day consists of watching television and performing light housekeeping chores.  . . . According to the ALJ, if Plaintiff experienced [headache] and muscle/joint pain at the frequency and severity alleged, she would not be able to engage in these activities.” 

The ALJ also cited medical records “that her migraines were responsive to the prescription medication Imitrex.”

The court also found that the ALJ’s reliance on the state agency medical opinions was consistent with objective medical findings of the claimant’s treating physician and the claimant and her husband’s statements of record describing the claimant’s activities of daily living and lifestyle.

The court affirmed the ALJ’s decision.


The details of the claimant’s testimony at the hearing were not included in the district court’s opinion.  It may very well be that the claimant testified that she did less than watch television and less than “light housekeeping.”  However, if the claimant testified that on an average day, she watched television and performed light housekeeping chores, that testimony would not necessarily be inconsistent with the chores enumerated in the ALJ’s decision that the claimant “provides care to their cat, cooks large batches of food to freeze, reads, watches television, uses a computer for email, drives, and accompanies her husband to the store at times.”   

Because activities of daily living will be evaluated, claimants must take great care in completing the various Social Security forms.  Claimants must provide extensive detail and must use more space than Social Security allocates on its forms (that is, claimants must attach additional sheets of paper).

The term “light housekeeping” is too vague to be useful. Detailed answers to Social Security forms 3373 and 3441 provide guidance for housekeeping aspects of activities of daily living.

It is important to explain as noted in HOW TO GET SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY & SSI DISABILITY when you spend 10 or 30 minutes doing something whether you do the task in several segments, that is, 10 or 30 minutes, but over the course of two hours, where you rest after each step in the process.

In this case, for example, what does care of the cat entail?  Is the cat an outdoor cat? Does the cat eat dry food only? Do other family members also care for the cat? Does care of the cat mean sitting while the cat purrs in the claimant's lap?

Does anyone assist the claimant in cooking large batches of food to freeze? What kind of food is cooked and frozen?  How heavy is the food? Why does the claimant cook food and freeze it? How often is the food cooked? 

How much time in minutes and hours does the claimant spend watching television, reading or using a computer?  Does she sit or lie in bed when doing these activities?  What kind of television programming does the claimant watch?  Can she recount the content or stories she watches or reads? 

For how long in minutes and hours and how far and how often does the claimant drive?  Does the claimant drive only during the daytime and only to familiar places?  

How often (each day, week, month) does the claimant accompany her husband to the store?  How long does she spend in the store?  Does she ever go to a store on her own?  Does she carry anything from the store?  Does she lean on a carriage while in the store?

Veglia v. Commissioner of Social Security, Case No. 2:13-cv-00227-FtM-29DNF (D. M.D. Fla., Ft. Myers Div., Feb. 21, 2014).

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for your comment. Comments may be edited. Only general interest comments will be posted. Please do not include personally identifiable information about anyone's actual Social Security case in your comments.