Illinois Social Security Disability Attorney Helps Younger Man Win Benefits

Arun Patel was at the relatively young age of 40 when he had a hearing before the Office of Adjudication and Review (ODAR) in his effort to win disability benefits.

Attorney Neil H. Good represented Patel, including organizing and presenting the medical evidence and advocating for him at the hearing.

Patel, a college graduate, had worked for the United States Postal Service from 1995 to 2007. He was injured on the job in 1996 while loading trucks. He had a diskogram two years later but developed a staph infection of the spine and was on medication for six to eight weeks. An MRI in 2007 showed moderate stenosis and degenerative changes. At the time of his hearing, he still had deranged disks, with nerve root radiculopathy, plus suffered pain, weakness and difficulty ambulating, sitting and standing.
He had sought numerous remedies.

The ALJ ruled Patel has the severe impairment of disorders of the back, a condition which does not meet a disability listing. However, the judge found that Arun had exhausted his treatment options, and the record clearly showed his condition not only affected his life for more than 12 months, it “continues to plague the claimant and restrict his ability of being able to perform even simple unskilled work activities.” Therefore, the judge found Patel disabled. He is unable to perform any past relevant work and his acquired job skills do not transfer to other occupations within his RFC, the judge found.

The medical records showed he cannot stand and walk more than four hours in an 8-hour workday, no longer than 15 minutes at a time; he cannot sit in an upright working position for more than 10 minutes at a time, can’t lift or carry more than 10 pounds, occasionally, and can’t complete a normal workday without being able to recline several times for up to 30 minutes. He cannot complete a normal work month, missing two or more days on average.

He attempted to work in limited duties at the post office. The postal service denied his request for spinal fusion surgery. He can’t play with children or lift objects, and can’t go out to eat because he can’t sit for long without pain exacerbation.

The judge ruled Patel’s additional limitations so narrow the range of work he might be able to find that “a finding of ‘disabled’ is appropriate.”