Benefits for Combination of Impairments

Sometimes claimants have multiple health issues which, together, lead to a determination of disability.

Timothy Miller, a 52-year-old divorced father of two, was unable to continue working as a sales representative. He filed for Social Security Disability but was denied. He turned to Attorney Neil H. Good to appeal his case.

In his pre-hearing memo prior to the Social Security Administration hearing, Attorney Good discussed Miller’s multiple impairments. Miller had two lumbar spine fusions. After a third lumbar surgery, a decompressed laminectomy with cages, he developed a spinal fluid leak and a dural tear with CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) leak.  He was diagnosed with failed back surgery. An MRI showed post-surgical changes, with foraminal narrowing, disk degeneration, and disk spondylithesis. He continued to have pain that radiated down his legs into his feet, with peripheral neuropathy of the feet. He had trouble performing personal tasks, such as lacing his shoes, washing, and lifting. Miller also had surgery for a rotator cuff tear in his left shoulder. After the surgery, he had a limited range of motion, pain, and weakness.

Miller also suffered from non-obstructive coronary artery disease, with chest pain and shortness of breath. He had also been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes that required medication and monitoring. He had asthma with shortness of breath, bronchitis, and wheezing, plus had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea. Miller also suffered from depression and anxiety, and frequently experienced 15-minute panic attacks.

At the hearing, the Administrative Law Judge heard testimony from a medical expert that “the combination of the claimant’s impairments would not permit him to engage in work for 8 hours a day.” The judge further noted that Miller was over the age of 50; that age demographic is considered as in increased need for support. Timothy Miller was granted Social Security Disability benefits.