Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) John Carlton denies most cases Social Security Disability (“SSD”) cases because he bases his decisions on his interpretation of the medical data, instead of the interpretation of physicians, as the law requires.
We represent a 56 year old claimant from Bay Shore with hip problems, who worked for over 30 years as a truck driver, warehouseman, and police officer. ALJ Carlton, who was not qualified to interpret an x-ray, decided that the claimant only became disabled on the date the claimant’s hip x-ray demonstrated arthritis and degenerative changes. You do not have to be a physician to realize that degenerative changes cannot possibly occur overnight. Notably, we represented another claimant in Vellone v. Saul, 2021 WL 2801138 (S.D.N.Y. 07/06/2021) where the court reversed ALJ Carlton’s decision because, once again, he decided to play doctor, and relied on his interpretation of the medical evidence to reject the treating doctor’s opinion that the plaintiff’s hip and back pain precluded working.
In the present instance, ALJ Carlton never explained how the claimant’s hip problems suddenly went from not even being severe, to limiting the claimant to light work, on April 13, 2019. Upon appealing the case to federal court, we sent a short letter to counsel for the Social Security Administration (“SSA”). Based upon that letter, the SSA agreed that ALJ Carlton’s decision was indefensible, and voluntarily remanded the claim.
On remand, the case was reassigned to ALJ Alan Berkowitz. Today, ALJ Berkowitz issued a fully favorable decision, and awarded the claimant SSD benefits, without even holding a hearing.Previous Next
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