How do you deal with ALJ's attacking your creditability?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by cerise, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. cerise

    cerise New Member

    Since CFIDS/CFS/ME is based on "self-reported symptoms" this allows the ALJ to attack a claimant's creditability. After reading the decisions I've received, I don't even like me and I'm convinced I'm a horrible person!

    Have you had to deal with character assasignation by the ALJ?

    How did you respond to it?
    Just as an example --
    I was in a car accident and my car was totalled. For some reason the ER report says I said (which I didn't) that my car sustained little or no damage. The ALJ has used this against me. I contacted the Highway Patrol about the police report from my accident and they don't keep records for more than 5 years so I can't get a copy of the police report to disprove the ER statements. I didn't have insurance claim filed so there's no record there. I did submit a picture of my car, but that didn't do any good.

    This is just one of MANY instances where the ALJ has attacked my character and creditability. Just wondering how anyone else has dealt with this problem.
  2. cerise

    cerise New Member

    The way the system is set up, ALJ's have more power in their hearing rooms than District and Circuit Court Judges do in criminal and civil courts of law! There is no accountability for them.

    It's a free for all and all boils down to who you draw as a the ALJ to hear your case.

    My complaint was based on the fact that the Chief ALJ of the Hearing Office is in charge of assigning cases to ALJ's for hearings. Well in my second hearing, the Chief ALJ assigned my case to himself, which I have a problem with as he had some "disagreements" with my former attorney who is now an ALJ and was under this Chief ALJ's supervision in another state, prior to my hearing. GOT ALL THAT?!!!

    When my attorney retired and then became an ALJ, his brother took over my case. My complaint was based on the fact that the Chief ALJ should not have assigned my case to himself under the circumstances.

    The recent ALJ decision turned it around saying I filed I complaint agains the ALJ because I didn't like his decision, when in fact I file the complaint PRIOR to receiving the decision. This is what I'm up against. How do they get away with ball faced lies like they do? Where is the justice and fairness?

    Write to your Congressman (regardless of party affiliation, they represent you) and demand a "Congressional Inquiry" into your case and your problems. I am fortunate as my Congressman has someone who just handles Social Security claims and they have been a big help where they can be.

    But with all this BS going on in DC, us constiuents are being forgotten and our day-to-day problems such as Social Security are being ignored. It's time to demand focus and remember that's our tax dollars.

    There needs to be an investigation into the entire OHA hearing process.

    Did you know that Social Security is the only administrative agency that has their own ALJ's???? Talk about a conflict of interest that they get away with!!
  3. ilovecats94

    ilovecats94 New Member

    I realize I'm pretty stupid here, but I don't know what ALJ stands for and can't think of what it would stand for.


  4. cerise

    cerise New Member

    that's what ALJ stands for. They handle administrative hearings whenever someone disputes a claim against an adminsitrative agency, be it Social Security, Unemployment Insurance, Worker's Comp, etc.

    As far as disputing your diagnosis. ALJ's have been given the authority and power to do just that! They are allowed to go through your doctor's chart notes of every single office visit you have had and draw their own conclusions as to your state of health, disability and condition as well as making their own diagnosis.

    They can also tell you that they are giving "no weight" to any one of your doctor's opinions or diagnosis.

    Scary isn't it! This is another reason why it is so hard to get doctors to help patients with social security disability claims because they are also attacked and their professional opionions discredited by these ALJ's.
  5. cerise

    cerise New Member

    I remmember the accident date perfectly as it was on my husband's birthday. The ALJ ignored the pictures of the totaled car and only chose to go with the comments that I supposedly made to the folks in ER.

    He discounts the fact that I was brought in by ambulance.

    I didn't replace the car because I didn't have the money or the ability to do so after the accident because that's when I collapsed.

    As far as tracking everything, now it would be almost impossible given the fact I live in a different state and this happened 12 years ago. I don't know the officer's name without the report and I did have the report at one time but can't find it since my last move. I do have the receipt from towing which I'm going to submit but I don't think that is going to help.

    The car accident is just one of many, many examples of how I was disbelieved. The funny thing (not laughing)is that the ALJ believes the diagnosis of post-traumatic fibromyalgia which based on this accident!

  6. chantoozy1

    chantoozy1 New Member

    Cerise I don't know if this will help but CFIDS etc can sometimes be brought on by medications and or stress you may want to walk backwards and look at medications you have taken look at thiriod function tests etc - Especially pysco tropics meds for depression /anxiety etc. It is quite frightening what can happen - look at class action suits against pharma companies you will find alot of information that is not publically known MOST of all try not to let them attack you emotionally as this agravates the immune system PTSD (post traumatic shock syndrome) has shown in testing that it is closly associated with CFS FM etc For just over three years I have been searching and researching I was diagosed by an idiot as having BI Polar when in fact I had hyper thiriodism the meds he gave me killed my thirod function now I will have to take a suppliment for the rest of my life remember it is the insurance companies aim in life to keep your money.
  7. cerise

    cerise New Member

    I'm in the process of getting ready to submit my "Statement of Exceptions" to the ALJ's decision from June of this year. Then the appeals council (AC) will either turn it down and accept the ALJ's decision as final, remand my case as they did previously, or award me benefits as per my claim.

    If they turn me down, then it's back to federal court. I already went to federal court in 2000 and agreed to a stipulated remand under the advice that would be quicker. That was 2 ALJ decisions' ago!

    I have since learned that remands are not such a good thing as they are usually returned to the same ALJ just to correct their mistakes made in the prior hearing.

    A double remand which I already had is very rare, a triple is unheard of.

    As for CFIDS, I was dx in 1987 and I believe mine was brought on by a bad case of mono just before it and the year prior was my rape. I wasn't dx with FMS until 96 and it was in 2000 that my doctor dx me with post traumatic fibro related to the untreated injuries I sustained in the 1993 vehicle accident.

    The other problem I'm having is that although I was initially dx with CFS in 1987 and again in 1990 and 91, I continued to work full-time and did not claim I was disabled until 1993, 5 months after the car accident and I waited 2 years after my date of disability before I even filed for SSDI. So the ALJ keeps saying that even though I was diagnosed with CFS I still managed to work full time from 87 through 92 with CFS.

    Just goes to show the lack of knowledge the professionals have about this DD. I would have thought by 2005 there would have been major advancements in this area, but there hasn't been to our great disadvantage.

    I can't win for losing. It's all that creditability factor. And as for being consistent the ALJ dismissed that as my "polished story" and that I have the CFS symptoms down pat straight from the literature!

    Each ALJ has built on the inaccurate and erroneous information put forward by the last ALJ and I just spend my time disputing what they say after the fact when I receive their decisions. It's a vicious circle!

    It all boils down to the fact that my disability rests on an illness that is based on "self-reported symptoms" and let's face it, one that is not accepted in the medical or legal field as valid.

    Why someone would want to give up a good paying job to be broke and destitute for 10 years is beyond me, but according to the last 2 ALJ's that's what I did.

    My first decision from 1987, I was denied because the ALJ didn't feel I met the criteria to have CFS even though I had been diagnosed by 3 different doctors. Once again, their opinions were given "no weight" because the ALJ didn't like how they kept their chart notes and it didn't reflect what he was looking for.

    My doctor at the time (a specialist) responded and wanted to know how long the ALJ had been treating me and where he got his medical degree. We wound up in federal court where it was remanded!
  8. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    but did you get approved for your ssi or ssdi?

    i hope you did since ;you have "post tramatic stress from fibromylgia."' that's if i remember what you said about the judge....

    if you did get approve try to let it go and say i don't care what here said about my intregrity i won my case....

    if you did not when the case, what are you doing about it now? are you appealing again?

    maybe it will be better this go around...there are great tips on this site..



  9. 69mach1

    69mach1 New Member

    i hope you put your wish done for maline for christmas if you celibrate it...

    do you have an attorney at this point???

    i can't beleive what a mess you are going through...

    i am sorry i have not dealt with your situation on the character assasination and creditability....they believed me which i was crying and crying having panic attack....and stuck to the truth about everything.....i am not saying you are please don't get me wrong...

    i just couldn't keep a lie straignt if i wanted to because of the fibro and depression i am sure you could not your self,,,it sounds like you had a horrible judge and i am sorry for that...i wish i could help you win your case...

    i can jsut be supportive and pray that you get someone new!

    well good luck to ou and keep us posted

    i am so sorry that you and almost everyone has to go through such B.s. to get approved. i know you will prevail and if you need any help you know where we are....

    you a person of high intregrity and was just the hospital's goof up andi have had paperwork in life happen as such myslef...

  10. cerise

    cerise New Member

    On my third ALJ decision from June 2005 I received a "patially favorable decision" which in my case meant that I was denied SSDI - Title 2 benefits because the ALJ found that I was disabled as of a later date than I claimed. With this new date of disability, I didn't qualify for SSDI anymore! I am appealing that part of the decision.

    I was awarded SSI benefits, but only from May 2000 on. My disability claim was as of July 1993 and I filed for benefits in 1995. So, I am appealing for past due benefits dating back to the onset of my disability in 93 or at least 95, but not 2000.

    I was awarded monthly ongoing SSI benefits in the amount of $0.00 per month. I appealed that through the local SSA office who calculated the benefit amount. They agreed there was an error and awarded me one-third of the monthly amount available, but at least I will be getting something. This decision just came down Sat. But I'm also appealing that amount and the amount for calculating my past-due benefits which some months were only $23 and $36 a month!

    Speaking of which, I better get to working on my appeal for my attorney while I still have the energy and ability to do so!

    Hey Jodie -- Just saw your profile -- you're a Capricorn too! And on Xmas Day!!! My birthday is 5 days after yours. You can check out my profile for more background info about me and my medical history with this DD!

    P.S. Used to live in Northern Calif. moved to Oregon from Sacramento. Very familiar with the Bay Area.
    [This Message was Edited on 11/27/2005]

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