New Challenge Facing Veterans Seeking Social Security Disability Benefits

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) September 8, 2017 – A U.S. Navy veteran has been considered 90 percent disabled and unemployable by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). However, when he submitted an application for back pay, he was denied receipt of such payments by the social security administrative law judge (ALJ), who also cancelled his benefits.

Tampa, Florida social security disability lawyer, David W. Magann states “Due to a change in the rules of the Social Security Administration (SSA), an ALJ will no longer grant special consideration to a disability claim decision made by the VA.” “This means it is even more important for individuals to obtain proper representation in their application for social security disability benefits.”

Daniel Norfleat, age 53, suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and a serious case of insomnia. He takes 24 pills a day to treat his pain, depression and insomnia. Additionally, he has endured a heart attack, a stroke and knee surgeries. He usually gets only about three to four hours of sleep per week. And when he is not asleep, he is in pain.

The SSA gave its approval of his disability benefits in 2015. Approximately one year ago, his lawyer recommended that he apply for back pay from the SSA for the time he could not work while he was awaiting approval. At the time of his hearing, the social security ALJ denied him the back pay and cancelled his benefits, stating that he was employable.

His wife, Deloris questions why the two government agencies are not in agreement. She said her husband has 15 physicians, each of whom is unaffiliated with the others. Each doctor is treating him for a different condition, and all have determined that he is unable to work.

According to Marilyn Zahm, the president of the Association of Administrative Law Judges, the SSA is not required to concur with the decision of the VA because the two agencies apply different criteria when determining disability. In March of this year, the agency modified a rule that some think will make it more challenging for veterans seeking social security disability benefits.

Previously, when a veteran was considered unemployable by the VA, the social security judges had to provide an explanation as to why they disagreed with the ruling of the VA. According to the SSA, the most significant factor in deciding whether an applicant is disabled is the credibility and consistency of the medical evidence, and not a medical opinion, even if it arises from a doctor at the VA.

Learn more at David W. Magann, P.A. Main Office: 156 West Robertson Street Brandon, FL 33511 Call: (813) 657-9175 Tampa Office: 18715 N Dale Mabry Hwy Lutz, FL 33548