After Being Turned Down Twice, Daniel Wins Benefits

He applied. He was turned down. He applied for reconsideration and was turned down again. Finally, after a hearing before the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review (ODAR) and a subsequent fully favorable decision, Daniel, age 61, began receiving Social Security Disability benefits.

At the time of the hearing, Daniel was suffering from Stage 3 bladder cancer. He had a radical cystectomy with removal of his bladder and construction of a neobladder of intestine, requiring catheterization every four hours. He also suffered from recurrent bladder stones, fevers and infections, as well as recurrent respiratory infections (which were becoming resistant to antibiotics). He suffered from degenerative changes of the thoracis and lumbar spine, and suffers depression because of his medical conditions. Medications included Alprazolam, Ciprafloxin, Diazepam, Effexor, Propranolol, Xanax, Amoxicillin, Cephulexin, Sulfamethoxazole, Ticiprodaxa, Clindamycin.

Attorney Neil H. Good helped Daniel navigate the frequently complex disability benefits process. Attorney Good noted in the pre-hearing memo that Daniel’s doctors have found him, “disabled and completely unable to perform past relevant work. This is well-supported by medically acceptable clinical, laboratory and diagnostic findings.”

Daniel has a college education and has worked for more than 35 years in the insurance industry.

In its “fully favorable” decision, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Daniel has the severe impairment of status post bladder cancer with residuals. “Though he does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments, he does, ‘at best’ [have] the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work, but could not be expected to do so eight hours per day, 40 hours per week.”

The judge also found that the demands of Daniel’s past relevant work exceed the residual functional capacity, and that Daniel was of advanced age on the established disability onset date.

All told, considering his age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, “there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy” that Daniel can perform, the ALJ ruled.

By the time the decision was reached, Daniel had been disabled for more than two years. His first benefits check, for his retroactive benefits, was for more than $45,000. And when the cost-of-living adjustment for 2012 took effect, his monthly benefits increased by approximately $85.