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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ind. Decisions - 7th Circuit decides one Indiana case today, a reversal in a SSA case

In Mikeal Cole, Jr. v. Carolyn Colvin (ND Ind., Miller), a 10-page opinion, Judge Posner writes:

In this appeal from the district court’s affirmance of the Social Security Administration’s denial of social security disability benefits, Mikeal Cole, a 41‐year‐old man who has severe pain in his arms and groin and multiple gastrointestinal conditions as well, argues that the administrative law judge assessed his credibility erroneously and failed to offer a reasoned basis for rejecting a con sulting physician’s medical opinion. Recently the Social Security Administration announced that it would no longer assess the “credibility” of an applicant’s statements, but would instead focus on determining the “intensity and persistence of [the applicant’s] symptoms.” Social Security Ruling 16‐3p; “Titles II and XVI: Evaluation of Symptoms in Disability Claims,” 81 Fed. Reg. 14166, 14167 (effective March 28, 2016). The change in wording is meant to clarify that administrative law judges aren’t in the business of impeaching claimants’ character; obviously administrative law judges will continue to assess the credibility of pain assertions by applicants, especially as such assertions often cannot be either credited or rejected on the basis of medical evidence. * * *

The administrative law judge’s decision was unreasoned, and should not have been affirmed. The judgment of the district court is therefore reversed with instructions to remand the case to the Social Security Administration for reconsideration of the plaintiff’s application for disability benefits.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 26, 2016 03:35 PM
Posted to Ind. (7th Cir.) Decisions