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Appellate court reverses denial of SSD benefits

As we have discussed before on this blog, the Social Security disability claims process can be challenging to successfully navigate. Many Missourians find that their initial claims are denied, neglecting to appeal the decision. This unfortunately results in full denial of SSD benefits. A recent appellate court decision, though, can help illustrate just how important it is to seek out every appellate opportunity available.

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals recently reversed a decision by an administrative law judge to deny a man's disability claim, stating that, amongst other issues, the administrative law judge cherry picked the disabled individual's medical record. The disability claim arose after a man fell off of a ladder, significantly injuring his arm. He underwent surgeries and therapy, but continued to experience pain.

After his workers' compensation and unemployment benefits ran out, the man sought Social Security disability benefits. Many of the medical professionals who examined him stated that his injuries rendered him disabled or seriously impaired with regard to work duties.

The administrative law judge, however, found it problematic that the SSD claim wasn't filed until after other benefits had run out. The Court of Appeals found that reasoning troubling, stating that the man would not have needed the additional benefits at that time, and the man probably didn't think he could receive disability benefits at the same time as other benefits.

This case was sent back to the Social Security Administration for further review and reconsideration. However, in order to get to this point, the man had to appeal his claim multiple times. Many times, succeeding on an SSD claim requires persistence and knowing how to satisfactorily show that one meets the SSA's federal requirements for being deemed disabled. Whether you are initiating the disability application process or making an appeal for a denied claim, it is important to be fully aware of your legal rights and options.

Source: The Indiana Lawyer, "7th Circuit remands disability benefits denial," Jennifer Nelson, July 27, 2016

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