7th Circuit orders disability case back to administrative law judge

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Because the Social Security Administration Appeals Council did not consider new evidence when it was presented – despite its own regulations requiring it to do so – the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent a disability insurance benefits case back to the administrative law judge for further proceedings.

At the time of the hearing on Angela Farrell’s application for disability benefits, she was married with two children and extremely overweight. She suffers from multiple issues, including anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and plantar fasciitis. Her initial application was denied, but the appeals council remanded her case for reconsideration. On remand, the administrative law judge again ruled against her, in part because of Farrell’s failure to establish definitively that she suffered from fibromyalgia.  

This time, the appeals council affirmed the ALJ’s decision, despite new evidence before the council that confirmed Farrell’s fibromyalgia. The District Court also affirmed.

In addition to finding the appeals council didn’t follow its own regulations that require it to consider “new and material evidence,” the 7th Circuit found several other aspects of the ALJ’s decision independently require correction, including that the ALJ “failed to grapple properly with the competing medical opinions” in considering Farrell’s application.

Her primary physician, Dr. Sarah Beyer, recorded Farrell suffered from several conditions and alluded to the possibility of Farrell suffering from fibromyalgia. The other physicians who reviewed Farrell’s file as part of the application evaluation process believe that Farrell only had “moderate difficulties” or “mild restrictions on daily activities.” One doctor testified there was no evidence of a confirmed diagnosis of fibromyalgia or anything that would give rise to arthritic pain.

The 7th Circuit concluded in Angela M. Farrell v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, 11-3589,  that the ALJ’s residual functional capacity determination for Farrell improperly discounted Beyer’s medical opinions and that the RFC determination was based on an incomplete assessment of the record.

The judges sent the case back to the ALJ for further proceedings.



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  1. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  2. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.

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  4. While if true this auto dealer should be held liable, where was the BMV in all of this? How is it that the dealer was able to get "clean" titles to these vehicles in order to sell them to unsuspecting consumers?

  5. He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good. He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance. He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation: For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent: He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.. He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless [ ] Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions. GOD BLESS THE GOVERNORS RESISTING! Count on the gutless judiciary to tie our children down and facilitate the swords being drawn across their throats. Wake Up America ...