Our client became unable to work due to her disability in 2007. Due to her past work history, her "date last insured" was in 2008 -- this means we had a little over a year to prove her disability. (An individual's "date last insured" is the last date of disability benefit coverage, and is calculated based on past work history. Once the coverage expires, an individual is no longer eligible for Social Security Disability, unless he or she can document that the disability began before coverage expired.) Unfortunately, our client only had three emergency room visits in 2007. That was the extent of her treatment and her records. She began treatment again in 2010, but a rather large three-year gap in evidence she presented.
As the case is with many individuals applying for disability, our client did not have health insurance during the gap in her treatment. Her evidence -- or, rather, her treatment records -- didn't exist because she was unable to get proper medical treatment due to the out-of-pocket costs. Her medical records that began again in 2010 were strong, but there was a significant gap to overcome.
We did our best to represent our client, despite the missing evidence in her claim. In our advocate's closing argument, he conceded that the main issue in our client's case was the gap in time with no treatment records. We told the Administrative Law Judge that we had no treatment notes or documents in the record simply because they didn't exist due to our client's inability to get proper medical treatment during that time period.
However, we argued that the three emergency room visits in 2007 were helpful and informative because they indicated that our client's impairments started at the time. In painting a complete picture of our client's medical history, we showed that the earlier emergency room records documented the beginning of our client's impairments. The administrative Law Judge was persuaded by our argument, and he ultimately granted a Fully Favorable decision for our client.