Monday, February 27, 2017

ALJ Found Scleroderma Disabling

I represent a 56 year old former nurse with scleroderma, whose application for Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits was denied by the State agency. A State agency clerk named M. Faughnan determined that the nurse’s condition was not severe enough to prevent her from working, even though her orthopedist concluded the claimant could not work. Faughnan’s decision was particularly opprobrious because it rejected the opinion of the State agency’s consultative examiner, which supported the claimant’s disability. 

On appeal, I submitted a report from the treating rheumatologist explaining that the claimant meets listings 14.04 and 14.06, which was simply the icing on the cake. The Administrative Law Judge (the “ALJ”) assigned the case approved SSD benefits without a hearing. The ALJ gave the opinions of the orthopedist, rheumatologist, and CE little to no weight respectively. In other words, there was no excuse for Faughnan to have rejected the opinions of any of those doctors.

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