Will I Win my Case? I have been Waiting a Long Time and I am Scared
Posted Oct 15 2012 10:48pm
Every month, I receive requests for my opinion from concerned and anxious disability applicants about whether a case is good enough to win. Usually a hearing has been scheduled and the claimant is looking for some reassurance.
The question below is a good example of this type of question. I am happy to help my blog readers any way I can but I hope you can understand that I can’t intelligently answer questions like these because I have no way of knowing what is contained in the medical record. I would point out that in my view, a claimant’s testimony is less and less important relative to the medical record documents in one’s case file.
I am going in December with my attorney for my first meeting with a judge. I have degenerative disc disease, fibromyalgia, arthritis in hands, sleep about 3 hours a night, can’t lift anything above 10 pounds, severe low back pain for past four years I have not worked. Can’t sit or stand for over 15 to 20 minutes at a time my back has stabbing, burning pain and sometimes runs down back of legs. My right hand will now go to sleep when ever it want to. I have had 17 facet shots under an x-ray machine and probably 35 x rays that show nothing. What is your opinion on this case will I win 100 percent and since I waited 2 years without work before I filed is there maybe a possible way to figure out what I may end up with to live off of? Anything you can tell me will be much appreciated. Is there any books that I can read to help me with this? It is very scary. I was also turned down 3 times by 3 different doctors when I did have insurance to get an MRI which I think I really need in this case.
As far as whether a particular person will win or not, here is what I would say:
do you have support from a treating doctor in the form of a functional capacity evaluation or a narrative report describing activity limitations. Social Security judges are trying to decide whether you have the capacity to perform a simple, entry-level, “warm body” job – has your doctor identified specific areas of functioning where your reliability is less than acceptable. If you do not have this type of support from a treating doctor, you are going to have an uphill battle.
have you been treating regularly with one or more doctors and are there medical reports and diagnostic reports (such as MRI’s, CT scans, etc.) in your file that document your compliance with treatment and lack of success with treatment?
is there any evidence in the file to suggest that you are malingering or drug seeking? – these can seriously damage your case
assuming you are represented by counsel, what does your attorney think? Can he explain to you the argument he intends to present to the judge and does he feel that the evidence describes serious limitations that impact your reliability at a job?
ask your attorney to tell you the truth – if your case is weak, is there anything you can do to make it stronger? Obviously, you will win if the judge accepts everything you say about your pain, discomfort, physical and mental limitations – the question: does the medical evidence support what you say?