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By Bernard A. Kansky, Esq. — © 2018 — All Rights Reserved

From Summer 2018 Forum

Q. My Administrative Law Judge hearing is scheduled in the near future and I am concemed that the Social Security Administration is in the process of reducing the number of cases in which it will award disability benefits to Claimants who are totally disabled by Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, also referred to as CF IDS and/or Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome. What if anything can I do to avoid a possible denial of my benefits?

A. First and foremost, if your physician has written an excellent report and has a good and thorough understanding of your disease and how each of your reported symptoms would-prohibit you from working, I would urge you to arrange for him to appear in person and to testify before the Administrative Law Judge, Second, I would also be prepared to testify about each and every symptom you continue to experience and explain the adverse effects of each from head to toe. Third, if you take medication to dull some pain you experience, describe in detail what medications you take, how often you have to take them and describe in detail the adverse side effects of each medication. If your standing, walking, vision and other basic functions have been severely compromised by your symptoms, be sure to detail those in your testimony. For example, if you suffer irritable bowel syndrome and when unable to get to the bathroom quickly enough, have experienced frequent accidents, be sure to testify as to that effect and the embarrassment it has caused you. If your standing or walking has been compromised and as a result you have had some falls or have experienced some vertigo when required to stand or walk longer than able, be sure to testify in detail about them and how they effected your basic ability to function in the work place and at home. Fourth, If fibromyalgia is one of your symptoms, be sure to testify as to at least the 11 trigger points (out of 18), which were painful or sensitive to your physician’s touch-testing. Fifth, in addition, be sure to have your primary care physician have your blood tested for the various CD’s, especially 19, so that there is some proof that your illness and disability is a precursor to cancer and/or other life and death illnesses. Sixth, Be sure to have many family members and friends who interacted with you substantially, both before you became disabled, as well as after you became disabled, testify as to their observations about your ability to function before you became disabled as well as after, and how much help they have had to give you after you became disabled and how much they each noticed your substantially progressive decline since you became so sick. Seventh, If you had been very active in a religious or other group before disability and since disability have not been able to show up or participate in those activities, have your clergyman also appear to testify about that to the Administrative Law Judge. Be sure that everyone who testifies has written out in advance their answers as to what their testimony will be inasmuch as it is likely that the Administrative Law Judge will sequester your witnesses and allow them to appear only one at a time. Eighth, in advance of the hearing, fmd out all you can about the SSA’s vocational expert witness and how often he appears before the Social Security Administration to testify against Claimants. In addition, find out what reference book he or she uses to understand the duties and responsibilities of each and every position the expert claims the Claimant can perform based upon an eight hour day, 5 consecutive days a week, week after week, month after month and year after year.

If someone is a member and has any questions about any of the foregoing, please send a letter with a stamped self-addressed return envelope to the NCF to the Attention of "Ask Bernie The Attorney."

The National CFIDS Foundation * 103 Aletha Rd, Needham Ma 02492 *(781) 449-3535 Fax (781) 449-8606