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Taskila v. Comm’r of Social Sec.: SSDI Appeals

Taskila v. Comm’r of Social Sec., a case from the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, involves a claimant who is not yet 40-years-old and has suffered numerous serious health problems. The vast majority of her health problems are a result of three separate car accidents in which she was involved.

868517_a_driverIn 1996, the car in which she was a passenger in crashed into a ditch.  Ten years later, she was in a car that crashed into a tree, and four years after that, she was in a car that crashed into a deer.  In addition to the three serious car accidents, she had surgery to have a mass in her breast removed and was seen by an orthopedist to treat the pain she was experiencing in one knee.  All of these separate injuries and illnesses caused her to suffer, and she claimed on her application for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits that she also had terrible pain in her back and neck.  She also claimed to have suffered from depression and anxiety and well as carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and incontinence. As result of all of her serious medical problems, she was unable to work.

When she filed her initial application with the United States Social Security Administration (SSA), the administration denied her requested benefits on a finding that she was not in fact disabled. It should be noted that the vast majority of all applications are initially denied, and this is a reason you should speak with a Boston Social Security Disability Insurance benefits attorney as soon as possible.

She was eventually granted a hearing before an administrative law judge (ALJ).  While an ALJ is supposed to be an independent examiner without any degree of bias towards the SSA, this could not be farther from the truth.  ALJs work for SSA and have offices in the SSA hearings and adjudication facility. They often find that a claimant is not disabled when it is quite clear that claimant is disabled and cannot work.

After a full disability hearing, the ALJ determined she was not disabled and denied her claim for benefits once again.  At this point, claimant filed an appeal with SSA’s council of appeals and that review panel decided not to hear her case.  This means that she was out of appeals within the agency and had to turn to the district court for any relief.  When she appealed to the district court, that court affirmed SSA’s determination that claimant was not eligible for disability benefits on grounds that there were still a great number of jobs in the local and national economies for which she was well qualified.

At that point, claimant filed an appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and that court ultimately agreed with both lower court judges’ rulings and affirmed the denial of benefits, finding that she was still capable of working.  It should be noted that SSA can determine a claimant can work in any job and is therefore not disabled, even if it is a much lower paying job.

If you or a loved one is seeking Social Security Disability Insurance in Boston, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Taskila v. Comm’r of Social Sec., April 15, 2016, United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

More Blog Entries:

Allensworth v. Colvin: SSDI Hearings and Appeals, April 1, 2016, Boston SSDI Lawyer Blog