On November 26, 2012 he filed a claim for SSDI.
Mark’s claim was denied initially on March 15, 2013, and upon reconsideration on May 30, 2013. On April 30, 2013 Mark appeared before an Administrative Law Judge in Tacoma. He was represented by John Chihak. Both a medical expert and a vocational expert testified during the hearing.
At the hearing, Mark testified that he worked at his last job, as a boilerman, for twelve years but became unable to perform the requirements of that job when he suffered a heart attack in 2011. Mark testified to significant and persistent pain symptoms following this incident, despite compliance with prescribed medication. He also testified to significant pain caused by fibromyalgia, and endorsed shortness of breath with even minimal physical activity, such as walking 20 yards, taking a shower, or performing any home housework. In addition, Mark testified to arterial blockage, and pain symptoms in his lower extremities
Mark’s providers included Franciscan Medical Center and the VA Medical Center at American Lake and in Seattle.
At the hearing, the medical expert testified that the medical evidence of record was consistent with Mark’s allegations of numerous severe impairments. He testified that Mark has coronary artery disease and a history of myocardial infarction. He testified that Mark had a blood clot in his ventricle necessitating blood thinners, and that he initially demonstrated an ejection fraction of only 15 percent, indicating severely diminished functioning. The medical expert identified a blockage in Mark’s femoral artery, and also found that the Mark had some degree of heart failure.
Given the objective medical evidence, the medical expert testified that Mark’s pain symptoms likely stemmed from his blocked artery and fibromyalgia. He believed Mark was limited to lifting up to five pounds, and would have numerous postural and environmental limitations.
The medical expert found that Mark would have difficulty in performing basic work related activities throughout an eight-hour day. He based his opinion on the evidence Chihak & Associates obtained, including treatment records and specific limitations identified in functional capacity forms sent to Mark’s doctors.
The vocational expert testified that Mark’s acquired job skills did not transfer to other occupations. Ultimately the Administrative law Judge found that given his age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are no jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that he could perform. Mark’s claim was approved.