Attorney David Wieland recently received another fully favorable decision in favor of his client in a Social Security Disability Case. The decision awarded Supplemental Security Income benefits to our client who previously worked as a screen writer and video camera operator in California.
Our client filed for Supplemental Security Income benefits, in April of 2013, due to his inability to continue working based on his disabling conditions of lumbago, embolism, thrombosis, gout, and degenerative changes of his foot. The Administrative Law Judge agreed with our allegations and found those conditions to be severe impairments.
The Judge found our client was able to work the full range of sedentary work. However, our client was found to be of advanced age (55 years or older) and as such the Judge had to find if a successful adjustment to other work could be made. Of significance, the Judge stated in the hearing the only year our client earned what Social Security considers Substantial Gainful Activity (over $1,000 a month take home pay) was the year in which he successfully sold a screen play. The Judge asked for a memorandum to be filed, following the hearing, explaining which position was to be considered his past relevant work, either his occupation as a cameraman or a screen writer.
This distinction, while seeming minute, was extremely significant as the Judge had to look to the client's past relevant work to determine if he would be able to make a successful adjustment to other work. If the Judge found the past relevant work was his occupation as a screen writer then our client would have been found NOT disabled as he would be able to successfully adjust from one sedentary position (screen writer) to other sedentary positions found in the national economy.
However, Mr. Wieland was able to avoid this unfavorable decision for our client by successfully arguing the client's past relevant work should not be determined based the amount of his earnings. Attorney Wieland argued past relevant work should be determined based on the value of his work had he been an employee rather than self-employed and based on the hours/skills/energy output expended in his position as a cameraman.
Based on this successful argument our client was awarded Supplemental Security Income benefits. Most importantly, this award also entitles the client to Medicaid benefits, allowing him to receive continued medical treatment to help alleviate his symptoms of his disabling conditions.