Severity of Impairments Equals SSA Listing

Maria has received a fully favorable decision from the Social Security Administration and now is receiving disability benefits.

Maria suffers from these severe impairments: interstitial cystitis with chronic pain and urinary frequency; history of seizures; major depressive disorder; and polysubstance abuse, in remission. The judge found that “the severity of the claimant’s mental impairment meets the criteria” of SSA standards. Her impairments, the judge rules, “cause marked restriction in activities of daily living, moderate difficulties in maintaining social functioning, marked difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence or pace, and one to two episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration.”

Maria had been hospitalized three times in a three-month period for psychiatric reasons, including drug overdoses, and thoughts of suicide. The judge noted that Maria has sought and received appropriate medical treatment, with numerous office visits reflecting regular trips to the doctor. She had worked steadily in the past, the judge noted, which “lends further credibility to the allegations of disabling symptoms. Such factors, along with others, warrant finding that Maria meets the requirements of one of the impairment listings.” Her substance use disorder(s) is not a contributing factor, he ruled.

Maria, age 52, has completed one year of college. She had worked as an administrative assistant for 16 years, and during six years of that time, also worked as a cashier at a convenience store.

Illinois SSDI Attorney Good’s pre-hearing memo laid out the significance of Maria’s physical and mental conditions, including her history of seizures, severe depression, and history of bipolar disorder. Attorney Good noted Maria has sleep loss, memory loss and working memory issues, plus hallucinations, and suicidal ideation and multiple suicide attempts, many requiring hospitalization. Physical conditions include a possible lung mass and pelvic pain, gastritis and erosive esophagitis, and interstitial cystitis.

Medications include Lexapro, Trazadone, Buspirone, Omeprazole, Zyprexa, and Ambien, among others.

The favorable decision from the Social Security Administration was made two days after the hearing.