Someone Just Won Disability for ME at the ALJ hearing 2021

gbells

Improved ME from 2 to 6
Messages
1,433
Likes
1,765
Location
Eastern NC USA
Someone who asked me for help recently forwarded me their notice of favorable decision for SSD for ME from an ALJ hearing. He was previously rejected at the earlier stages based on biased SSA but persisted, continued to strengthen his case with a full neuropsychology exam and two day exercise test that completely discredited the biased shoddy SSA hired consultants who tried to get his claim rejected. His ALJ hearing went very quickly (5 min) which, along with the strong expert testing testimony, caused me to suspect he would win and he did. He is one of only 15,000 people in the USA approved for SSD benefits and I am extremely happy for him.

If you are going through the process I would recommend that you get this type of testing if you are having mental and physical symptoms as it is extremely valuable for winning the case.
 

geraldt52

Senior Member
Messages
589
Likes
2,359
It is important to recognize that almost all SSDI applications are rejected prior to a hearing before an ALJ, the exception being those conditions that "automatically" qualify for benefits, and CFS is most definitely not one of those conditions. No one should be discouraged by the first two denials prior to an ALJ hearing.

Your results before an ALJ will have a lot more to do with which ALJ hears your case, and their opinion regarding CFS, than anything else. It is the luck of the draw which ALJ you get...nothing you can do about it.

My wife had a very poorly documented history and was approved by her ALJ on her hearing date based only on the record, prior to him hearing a single word of evidence. I, at the other end of the spectrum, had a very thoroughly documented history and a supportive doctor, and was denied by my ALJ for reasons he simply made up, with no evidence whatsoever to support his reasoning (he told my lawyer at the end of it that he didn't "believe" in CFS). I was finally awarded benefits by a Federal Judge after 7 years of appeals.

I'm not suggesting that testing and documentation isn't a good idea, but an ALJ might deny your claim anyway. If you end up with a denial by an ALJ, unless the ALJ commits some error of law it is unlikely that any of the levels of appeal with Soc Sec will change the ALJ's findings on the "facts", and you'll end up in Federal Court. ALJ's shouldn't wield that kind of power, but they do...
 

gbells

Improved ME from 2 to 6
Messages
1,433
Likes
1,765
Location
Eastern NC USA
Your results before an ALJ will have a lot more to do with which ALJ hears your case, and their opinion regarding CFS, than anything else. It is the luck of the draw which ALJ you get...nothing you can do about it.
I had a similar experience with my own case where neuropsychological testing won the case at appeal after the ALJ. It comes down to whether the judge thinks you have a strong enough case to win in district court. Testing is essential. Even the most hardened judge will consider this before he renders a decision. Judge temperment only matters when you have a weak case. Another thing you can do is write a request to a trusted senator who is actually helping you stating that you think they are biased and ask them to follow it. That keeps them honest. But at the end of the day it is up to you to prove your case. SSA acts like any insurance company, they take the position that you are exaggerating mild illness and are not disabled unless you can prove otherwise and this is the what their medical experts will write. I have never seen one not say this. However, they can't fight objective testing.
 
Last edited:

Jennifer J

Senior Member
Messages
968
Likes
4,521
Location
Southern California
Oh that's great that he won it! :) What a relief. It's no easy feat.

I'm not suggesting that testing and documentation isn't a good idea, but an ALJ might deny your claim anyway. If you end up with a denial by an ALJ, unless the ALJ commits some error of law it is unlikely that any of the levels of appeal with Soc Sec will change the ALJ's findings on the "facts", and you'll end up in Federal Court. ALJ's shouldn't wield that kind of power, but they do...
Went that route. :( Denied at Federal Court. Had to restart process from square one again. Thankfully this time I was better informed to help my case and ended up with an ALJ that believed me.

If you are going through the process I would recommend that you get this type of testing if you are having mental and physical symptoms as it is extremely valuable for winning the case.
Yes, testing if you can, good dr notes and if you have some of your own logging your symptoms and how it disables you from working, letters from others that speak of you now and what you were like before and speak of your character.
 

gbells

Improved ME from 2 to 6
Messages
1,433
Likes
1,765
Location
Eastern NC USA
letters from others that speak of you now and what you were like before and speak of your character.
That's a good point. I had two letters one was from my mother who sees me infrequently and wasn't specific, that one was thrown out. The other was from a close friend who sees me often. He has specific comments, trash in apartment, dirty etc. That one had a lot of weight. So it comes down to the quality.
 

gbells

Improved ME from 2 to 6
Messages
1,433
Likes
1,765
Location
Eastern NC USA
My wife had a very poorly documented history and was approved by her ALJ on her hearing date based only on the record, prior to him hearing a single word of evidence. I, at the other end of the spectrum, had a very thoroughly documented history and a supportive doctor, and was denied by my ALJ for reasons he simply made up, with no evidence whatsoever to support his reasoning (he told my lawyer at the end of it that he didn't "believe" in CFS). I was finally awarded benefits by a Federal Judge after 7 years of appeals.
This shows obvious bias on the part of the judge.
 

geraldt52

Senior Member
Messages
589
Likes
2,359
It surely does, but the ALJ suffered no repercussions whatsoever, while I suffered without income for 7 years until a Federal Judge ordered Soc Sec to pay. And, on top of that, I lost $35K of my past due benefits to my lawyers fee (which is approved and set by the Federal Judge). It's despicable, but I'm sure the ALJ wasn't dissuaded from doing the same thing to someone else later. Why wouldn't he?