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Social Security Claims Problems: Amusing Points to Ponder

It is said that there is a fine line between comedy and tragedy, and no truer than in this profession. Every so often, we have to laugh. This job is often painfully sad and undoubtedly a very serious matter, sometimes the absurdity is nothing short of amusing.

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Are You Psychic?

While reading a file, a representative came across a page where the Administration had consulted a vocational expert. Using the abilities the claimant retained after considering the limitations of her disability, the expert determined the claimant would have a possible job match as PSYCHIC READER (DOT Code 159.647-018). The claimant was a young woman, who finished high school and had worked at several “entry level” type jobs, but nothing close to this type of work. Nonetheless, reading the description of this profession in the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, the representative could see their point. Undaunted, the representative decided he might appeal stating his client should win because she had predicted it would happen.

“We Realize You Are Deceased, but”….

Some time ago, a new client came to me with a class action claim. The Administration had just mailed the new denial to the client’s family as the actual claimant had died several years prior. The truly bizarre thing was the text that was written “we realize you are deceased, but”…. (Seriously, who did they think they were writing to?)

The Doctor is Always Right???

This one, while not a true story, it certainly portrays the frustration that representatives and claimants go through:

At a hearing the Judge had also ordered a medical expert to testify. The doctor testified that the claimant should be able to do work activity despite the residual problems following a failed back surgery. The lawyer then cross examined the doctor:

Lawyer: “Doctor, based on the claimant’s testimony that he is constantly distracted by pain, wouldn’t that interfere with his ability to concentrate?

Doctor: He only thinks he is unable to concentrate, if he was tested he would do fine.

Lawyer: Well, Doctor, the claimant’s side effects of medications make him sleepy and groggy. Wouldn’t that interfere with safety and productivity standards?

Doctor: He only thinks it makes him groggy, the effects wear off very quickly.

This type of testimony goes on over several minutes and unsurprisingly the claimant is eventually denied benefits.
A few months later the lawyer runs into the doctor in a social situation. The doctor asked the lawyer “So, how is your client who thinks he’s so disabled.”

Lawyer: “Oh, he’s much worse…. He thinks he’s dead now!”