I was able to avoid a hearing for a 52 year old carpenter from New Jersey that was scheduled for Friday by filing an on-the-record ("OTR") brief. Like many claimants, the carpenter had strong support for his back problems from his spine specialist, whose opinion was supported by MRI testing. The claimant avoided the hearing because of the vocational facts.
The OTR cited the case law holding that carpenters do lack transferable skills, which means that under Social Security’s Medical-Vocational Rules, the claimant had to be found disabled even if capable of sedentary work. Therefore, the only issue was whether the claimant has the capacity to do light work.
The carpenter’s work history also helped the case. He graduated from high school in 1979, and spent his entire adult life, from 1979 through 2012, working as a carpenter. The OTR showed that the Third Circuit has established that a claimant with a good work record is entitled to substantial credibility when claiming inability to work because of a disability. More specifically, where a claimant has a long work history of continuous work at the same employer, he is entitled to substantial credibility. I contended that the claimant’s strong work history was objective evidence establishing his credibility, and there was no need for a hearing to assess it. The Administrative Law Judge agreed and approved the OTR.