Detroit Social Security Disability Lawyer Explains Common Errors in Disability Determinations
In my experience as a Detroit Social Security disability lawyer, I have seen numerous cases in which the Social Security Administration erroneously denied an applicant’s claim for Michigan disability benefits. Common errors in Michigan Social Security disability determinations include:
- The applicant’s impairment is deemed “not severe”;
- Only some, and not all, of the applicant’s impairments are actually considered in the disability determination process;
- The state agency decision-makers fail to gather evidence showing that the applicant’s impairment “meets or medically equals” a Listing impairment;
- The applicant’s pain is improperly evaluated;
- The applicant’s education level is overstated;
- The applicant’s residual functional capacity is improperly evaluated and, consequently, overstated.
The Social Security Administration Overstates Your Ability to Work
Let’s take a closer look at this common disability determination error.
If you do not qualify for Michigan Social Security disability benefits based on your medical condition alone, then the Social Security Administration will consider your ability to function – to sit, stand, walk, lift, carry, bend, stoop, manipulate objects – despite any limitations caused by your medical condition. This is your “residual functional capacity.” The Social Security Administration expresses your residual functional capacity in terms of the level of work you can do – light, medium or sedentary. Each of these work levels has specific requirements, as established in the Social Security regulations. Medium work, for example, is work that “requires lifting no more than 50 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 25 pounds” and “frequent bending or stooping.” Light work, on the other hand, is work that “requires lifting not more than 20 pounds at a time, with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds.”
The Michigan Social Security disability decision-makers determine your residual functional capacity using the medical evidence provided by your doctors. If this evidence is incomplete or otherwise inaccurate, the Social Security Administration may overestimate your residual functional capacity. For example, your doctor may indicate that you cannot lift more than 50 pounds, but may fail to indicate that you also cannot engage in repetitive lifting of weights of more than about 10 pounds and cannot bend or stoop frequently. Based on this incomplete information, the Social Security Administration may conclude that you are capable of medium work when, in reality, you are limited to light work. This could result in an erroneous determination that you are not disabled and, therefore, not entitled to an award of Michigan Social Security disability benefits.
An Experienced Michigan Disability Attorney Can Review Your File for Errors
Like all large organizations, the Social Security Administration makes mistakes. An experienced Detroit Social Security disability attorney, who understands the Social Security rules and regulations, can review your medical records and your Social Security file with a trained eye, to ferret out any mistakes. Even more importantly, a seasoned Michigan Social Security disability lawyer can take action to try to correct those mistakes. If you would like me to review your case, please complete the Free Claim Evaluation form to your right. If you prefer, feel free to contact me by phone or email.