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Tucson Social Security Disability Blog

Is There A Medical Basis For The Way Social Security Evaluates Disability Claims?

Posted by John Kuhnlein | Mar 07, 2018 | 0 Comments

A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine might be the most interesting thing I have read about Social Security disability in a long time. As you know, Social Security recently changed the way in which they evaluate

Read All About It

disability cases. They now require more medical documentation of alleged impairments.  The thinking behind this change seems to be that if a Social Security disability applicant was really suffering, she would be frequently getting medical treatment.

A Reasonable Assumption. . . But, Is It True?

That is a reasonable assumption, but it turns out that linking the amount of medical care to the severity of the medical problem might not be as logical as it seems.  The researchers at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine could not establish a direct causal link between how badly impaired a person was and how often she saw a doctor. 

Many Reasons Why A Person Cannot Get Medical Care

The report found several reasons why even a severely-impaired applicant might not seek medical care.  These include physical access to services, finding doctors who take the applicant's health insurance, and the availability of medical care in the region

We Never See You Anymore

where the applicant lives.  

In addition, for a lot of people with chronic conditions, there is not much point in going to the doctor only to be told that there is nothing that doctor can do.  I see this often in migraine and seizure cases. People suffering from these conditions tell me that they don't see the sense in going to an emergency room and waiting for 6-8 hours when there is no meaningful treatment available.

Time To Rethink The Approach?

This is a big deal.  I have read in countless unfavorable decisions that the applicant could not be as bad off as she claimed due to lack of visits to clinics and doctors.  This new study finds that the link between medical problems and medical care could be illusory.  If this thesis is borne out, it suggests that Social Security might need to rethink how they evaluate Social Security disability claims.

About the Author

John Kuhnlein

Since 1992, I have been helping the people of Southern Arizona get the benefits they are due. Before devoting all my efforts to assisting people with Social Security disability claims, I also handled such complex lawsuits as medical malpractice and products liability. I brought to my Social Security cases all the skills and attention to detail that I developed in the courtroom. I approach each Social Security disability case as if it were a million-dollar lawsuit. For the people trying to get Social Security benefits, their claim is every bit as important. Because I have personally handled so many Social Security cases, I have refined the skills I need to win your case for you. I have helped people win cases for every kind of ailment from arthritis to valley fever. At present, I am focused on helping those persons with neurological and orthopedic disorders. Because claims for people over age fifty bring additional complications, I particularly seek out those cases to work on. I regularly write about back and spine conditions on my blog. I actively seek out the latest information about orthopedic and neurological disorders to ensure I can represent my clients as effectively as possible. Because of my current focus, I regret that I am not able to take any cases for mental disorders. If you are over age fifty and suffer from any orthopedic or neurological disorder, please contact me at once.


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John Kuhnlein has been assisting people with Social Security disability claims for the past 25+ years.

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