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Man not entitled to disability benefits

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The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals was sympathetic to a man’s medical condition but affirmed the decision by an administrative law judge that he’s not disabled is supported by the evidence.

Bradley M. Shideler has osteogenesis imperfecta, or “brittle bone disease.” He applied for Social Security Disability Insurance benefits in 2006, alleging a disability onset date of June 30, 1995. His last date of being insured was March 31, 2000.

At a hearing, he testified that his back pain was a constant “10 out of 10” and was limited in what household chores he could do. He said he couldn’t stand or walk for very long and had to frequently lie down. He previously worked as a carpet cleaner in 1997 and as a rental consultant for three years. In 1999, he was injured while riding his motorcycle and had to have knee surgery. He claimed to have broken 55 bones over the years, but his medical records only supported a handful of surgeries.

A vocational expert testified that based on most of Shideler’s physical restrictions, he could work as a credit clerk, order clerk, or telephone clerk. When the ALJ gave the vocational expert a very specific list of restrictions, including a person who couldn’t work a full eight hours without needing additional breaks, the vocational expert said there would be no jobs available under those restrictions.

A state physician completed a residual functional capacity assessment of Shideler, which in that doctor’s opinion found he could perform medium work and could even occasionally climb ladders.

The ALJ denied Shideler’s application; the Appeals Council denied his request for review. The District Court also upheld the decision. He challenged the ALJ’s conclusion that he was not disabled prior to March 31, 2000, claiming her findings weren’t supported by the evidence.

The 7th Circuit found the ALJ’s reasons for finding Shideler’s testimony to not be fully credible are sound and not “patently wrong.” Whatever Shideler’s current condition is, the ALJ’s decision finding that he was not disabled as of March 2000 is supported by substantial evidence, the judges held. The appellate court sympathized with Shideler, but his condition didn’t rise to the level of a disability prior to his date last insured.

 

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