We recently won a PTSD case for a Social Security and VA disability client of ours. The one I am posting involved the Tampa ODAR. And involved a Pasco County client of ours.
Pasco County, Florida is serviced by our main office in Tampa. Our Tampa office is located at 15501 North Florida Ave. (US 41). It is a red brick building with a low white metal roof and a courtyard out front. Parking is in the rear, with handicapped parking out front. It is located on Florida Avenue, (US 41) just one half mile north of Bearss. Due to its proximity to the Interstate I-275 and being right on US-41, our clients from Hillsborough county find us very convenient, as do our clients from south and central Pasco County and Polk, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus county as well. Our office hours there are from 8:30 A.M to 5:00 P.M. At one time or another your case will be handled in Tampa, as this is where our main file assembly takes place and to where all your medical records will be delivered. Mike’s main office is there, and Carol Wilson is there too, but she additionally keeps office hours in our St. Petersburg office to service our clients from Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and parts of Pasco county there.
This case was severe enough to have met a medical listing and a vocational analysis was unnecessary
Psychiatric disability cases are very difficult to prove unless one has been treating with a psychiatrist. Most of the younger clients we have cannot afford proper mental health care. This is especially true in the more rural areas in which our clients live. There are portions of Polk County, Marion, Citrus, Sumter and Pasco counties which are underserved by our psychiatric community. This is not the doctor’s fault, as the Veterans’ Administration has aggressively hired many of the physicians who had been in private practice away into the VA. This is a good thing as our Veteran clients and those suffering from PTSD need it. The down side to this is that the county mental health facilities are understaffed and overburdened. Nurse practitioners now fill the shoes that used to be filled by Psychologists and Psychiatrists. The SSA does not give great weight to the opinions of licensed social workers or psychiatric nurse practitioners. Moreover, the Social security Administration will have your file sent out early on to their own “experts” who will down play your symptoms and treatment and render an opinion that a claimant can do simple repetitive work on a full time basis thereby allowing the SSA to deny your claim. This is why it is so important to have a regular treating psychiatrist on board in your case. If there would be any time to borrow from family to pay for the treatment by a psychiatrist, it would be before, during and after the filing of a Social Security Disability claim. Fortunately, in this case, psychiatric care was obtained after we were retained and the treating psychiatrist completed a Psychiatric Residual Functional capacity form for our client. It was not great trial skill that won here, just great case preparation and assistance. The presence of an RFC in the case, conscientiously filled out and completed by our client’s physician was invaluable.
PTSD cases involve a myriad of symptoms. They are dangerous to the claimant and to the claimant’s family if left untreated. If they are untreated, the cases are virtually impossible to prove. That is why treatment is not an option. It is mandatory. In many cases PTSD is combat created. It can be chronic and severe at times. It can be mixed with a number of other psychiatric illnesses, like depression, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, personality disorder with antisocial behavior, to name but a few. It is also diagnosed with drug and alcohol abuse that were just as much as a symptom as a cause for exacerbation. So, see your psychiatrist and stay off alcohol and street drugs, if you want to have a shot at getting your SSDI or VA benefits. PTSD even affects those who did not see combat or the gore of combat back in the hospitals and the morgues. War hurts us all. Even those who were in uniform and held behind suffer “soldier’s remorse’, similar to the “Why didn’t God take me?” or “It should have been me who died, not my closest friend, or son, or daughter”. Civilians get PTSD too, from accidents, deaths of loved ones….”Why couldn’t I have stopped this from happening”. It is all PTSD. It is all treatable. Do not suffer.
Luckily in this case, our client’s treating physician at the VA, helped a lot by completing the forms we sent to the client and the doctor along with a VA directive, which in short tells the physician, he can get in trouble if he does not help the Vet fill out the forms. In this case, the completed form made the case a much easier one for us to prove.
These Residual Functional Capacity Questionnaire (RFC) forms, both physical, mental and other specialty forms are available to everybody free of charge on our website and are most helpful in litigating a Social Security Disability case when our client has a regular or treating physician. We use them in virtually every case we can, whether it be it Tampa venue, or Orlando, Clearwater, Ocala, Ft. Myers or St. Petersburg. We use them in our Jacksonville cases as well and in cases we try throughout the country as our clients being Floridians mostly, become very mobile as housing and access to medical care change and cause them to have to move. We do not abandon our clients or their cases just because they are forced to migrate to other areas of the country. In the past year we have tried cases as far south as Ponce, Puerto Rico and as far north as Bangor, Maine and Spokane, Washington and as far west as Phoenix, Arizona, just because our clients had to move.