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In the hotseat

Monday, August 20, 2012

This isn't fitness related, but it is health related, if not my health.

Today was my husband's disability hearing. We've appealed three times, and this is the best chance we've got to make this happen. We were both nervous going in, but my poor husband was a nervous wreck. Literally; he was stuttering, trembling, and just having a tough time in general.

The judge was very thorough and had a poker face that could win serious tournaments. Our lawyer described him as "cold", which I can see how she came to that conclusion, but I don't agree with her assessment. He was very professional, very attentive, and very detached, but not cold. He was clearly interested in the case, and was giving it his 100% attention. He asked very detailed questions.

I gave my testimony, and man, I know what "hot seat" means, now. It's a good thing I wear clinical-strength antiperspirant, because I was sweating bullets. The man just has a serious presence to him. You can tell that he's a living lie detector; he sees so many liars that you can't slip anything by him!

I was able to share some of my experiences with my husband, in a way that I don't think will hurt his case at all; I was also able to clarify a few of the things my husband doesn't know, like how often he has absence seizures.

Overall, I'm optimistic I think that if we are denied, it will be because of some minuscule law loophole somewhere, not because we didn't present a compelling case.

One thing that surprised me was the SSA doctor's evaluation of him. See, the last time we appealed, we went to see the SSA doctor, you know, the one whose job it is to determine if there's anything actually wrong with you, and look for any reason to deny you? This man gave a very thorough, accurate evaluation of my husband's condition, and basically said point blank that he couldn't work. That his conditions were pretty much completely exclusive of the ability to work in any setting. Things like "unable to work with people" and "unable to focus."

But the SSA ignored *their own doctor* and decided his condition was "not severe enough." The lawyer was quick to point this out, and read the entire evaluation. I hadn't read it, and was quite startled that the SSA would ignore their doctor and decide something like that.

I think that this is something that will work in our favor, because this judge won't just be ticking boxes on a form. I figure whoever made the last decision probably looked up my husband's diagnosis and determined that it wasn't severe enough without reviewing the case at all. All this judge has to do is to review the evaluation of his administration's own doctor, read the medical history, and compare that with his own observations at the hearing, and we've got a good chance.

Either way... here's to hoping. And praying.
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