Because you are disabled.

File for disability benefits.

Appeal your case.

How you presented your initial application was the best you could do at that time given what you knew and were told.

But, if you were not successful, appeal (1) because you are disabled and (2) because you can improve on your presentation.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lumbar and cervical dysfunction and depressive disorder.

The Administrative Law Judge found the claimant’s impairments to be: “herniated nucleus pulposus at L4-L5 and L5-S1 status post laminectomy at L4-L5 with recurrent herniation at L4-L5 and nerve root impingement; spinal stenosis in the lumbar spine; cervical dysfunction variously described as minimal bulging, tear and spondylitic changes; coccydynia; and a mental impairment variously described as depressive disorder, adjustment disorder with depressed mood and pain disorder.”

In this case the ALJ gave only “limited weight” to the residual functional capacity limitations that the claimant’s doctor identified.

The claimant’s treating physician had found that the claimant’s physical capacities were that she: “can sit for less than 2 hours and stand for less than 2 hours in an eight-hour workday; she can occasionally lift up to 5 pounds; she can perform simple grasping and fine manipulations with both hands, but she cannot push or pull with arm controls; she cannot use her right or left leg for pushing and pulling of leg controls; Claimant requires a twenty minute rest period every hour during an eight-hour workday; and she will need to lie down for substantial periods during a normal workday.”

On appeal, the court concluded that the ALJ had not met his burden of articulating evidence to support his reason for rejecting or giving limited weight to the doctor’s opinion.  The court also found that one of the reasons cited by the ALJ that the doctor’s opinion was based on the claimant’s subjective complaints was “wholly conclusory.”

The court cited the three MRIs and an EMG study as among the objective results supporting the doctor’s opinion.

The court remanded the case for further proceedings.


Courts will accept the facts as found by the Administrative Law Judge if they are supported by substantial evidence.

The court here cited precedent that good cause to reject a physician’s opinion would exist if: “(1) treating physician’s opinion was not bolstered by the evidence; (2) evidence supported a contrary finding; or (3) treating physician’s opinion was conclusory or inconsistent with the doctor’s own medical records.”

Pereira v. Commissioner of Social Security, Case No. 6:12-cv-1831-Orl-GJK (D. M.D. Fla., Orlando Div., Feb. 7, 2014).

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