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We received a federal court decision today that reversed the denial of Social Security disability (“SSD”) benefits by administrative law judge (“ALJ”) Robert Schriver.
We represent a 50 year old title reader from Bellerose Manor with fibromyalgia. The ALJ rejected the opinion of the treating rheumatologist that the claimant lacked a sedentary residual functional capacity (“RFC”) because of the fibromyalgia. We argued that the ALJ impermissibly relied upon his own lay judgment in lieu of medical opinions when concluding the claimant had the RFC for full time work. The federal district court agreed.
The judge ruled that because the ALJ is a layperson, not a doctor, he is not permitted to interpret raw medical information into an RFC without the assistance of a medical professional’s insight. The court added that, “Because an RFC determination is a medical determination, an ALJ who makes an RFC determination in the absence of supporting expert medical opinion has improperly substituted his own opinion for that of a physician, and has committed legal error.”
The most noteworthy part of the decision was that the judge highlighted the importance of the treating physician’s opinion even after the repeal of the treating physician rule.
It’s important to note, that when you hire an attorney to represent you with a Social Security Disability claim, you should confirm that he/she has the credentials to take your case to Federal Court, if the need should arise. Please contact our office for a free phone consultation if you are considering filing for disability. Our offices are conveniently located on Long Island in both Nassau and Suffolk counties.
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