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7th Circuit orders SSA take another look at woman’s case

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Finding that the administrative law judge hearing a southern Indiana woman’s claim for disability insurance benefits made several errors in his consideration of the record, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals sent the case back to the Social Security Administration for more proceedings.

In Linda K. Roddy v. Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of Social Security, 12-1682, Linda Roddy, who had worked full-time as a shift manager at Taco Bell for many years, sought disability benefits after pain prevented her from working and doing basic household chores. She was in a car accident in 1999 that led to her seeking treatment for chronic pain. She went to pain management specialist Dr. Gary Wright for several years and received treatments. When she lost her insurance, she saw Wright less frequently until she stopped seeing him in January 2006. Tests revealed she had degenerative disc disease and inflammation of the joints in the lower back. She cut back hours at work at the suggestion of Wright until she could no longer work at all.

Roddy filed for benefits in November 2007, alleging that her disability began in November 2005. Dr. Larissa Dimitrov evaluated Roddy and found her not to be disabled. The agency denied her claim as did an administrative law judge. He found her not to be disabled using the five-step sequential process in 20 C.F.R. Section 404.1520(4).

The 7th Circuit found the ALJ failed to adequately explain why Wright’s views should be set aside and didn’t give much weight to his opinion. As Roddy’s treating physician, his opinion is entitled to controlling weight if it is supported by other evidence.

The judges also agreed with Roddy that this case must go back to the SSA because the ALJ erred by basing his credibility finding on Roddy’s failure to seek professional treatment for her back after 2006 and her ability to perform household tasks.

The 7th Circuit vacated the District Court judgment that found evidence supported the decision and remanded with instructions to send the case to the SSA for further proceedings.
 

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  1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

  2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

  3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

  4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

  5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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