Summary: this case involved the claim of a 53 year old female with a high school education who was limited to sedentary work due to complications from diabetes
Claimant: 51 year old female
Past work: Hand packer for lock manufacturing company
Education: high school graduate
Basis of disability claim: physical problem – uncontrolled diabetes for 3+ years. Total numbness in lower leg and feet leaving claimant unable to stand more than 10 minutes at a time, walk more than 20 yards, or sit more than 30 minutes at a time. Claimant is unable to drive because she cannot feel her feet and she does not get restorative sleep because of the nerve pain in her sleep.
Analysis: The medical record in this case clearly demonstrated that my client had significant nerve damage in both feet. Because of the neuropathy brought about by years of uncontrolled diabetes (typical blood sugar readings between 250 and 300), she had no feeling whatsoever in her feet. She was able to walk short distances, with difficulty.
I asked my client’s treating physician for a “functional capacity evaluation” setting out her physical limitations. This form indicated that the claimant could not walk for more than 5 minutes or stand more than 10 minutes and that standing and walking were limited to less than 2 hours total during the day.
Under Social Security’s definitions, a “light” job requires standing and walking up to 6 hours out of an 8 hour day. Because my client could not stand or walk more than two hours in a day, any light, unskilled job would be excluded from consideration.
With the standing and walking limitations, my client, at best, would be limited to sedentary work. At age 50, therefore, we had an individual with a high school education that did not provide for direct entry into skilled work, an unskilled past work and no transferrable skills. Grid 201.12 deems an individual disabled per the grid.
The judge in our case was a visiting judge appearing by video conference from California. He immediately recognized that this was a “grid” case and he called me in to the hearing room prior to actually starting the hearing. He asked me if we would amend our “onset date” to the claimant’s 50th birthday in January, 2006. I stepped outside and discussed this with my client. She agreed to this amendment and I returned to the courtroom to report back to the judge. The judge then went on the record and announced that he would grant this case “on the record” based on the grid rules.
My client never set foot in the courtroom and the hearing lasted about 45 seconds.