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If a claimant seeking Social Security Disability (“SSD”) benefits is unable to past work, then the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) has the burden of proving the claimant can do other work. The burden of proof shift can be critical to the outcome of an SSD claim.
I represent a claimant whose past occupation was working at the Postal Service under a handicapped program. Under that program, the claimant did not perform his occupation as it is normally done in the national economy. To the contrary, the claimant worked with special accommodations and extra supervision. The SSA agreed that the claimant was unable to do his pat work as it is normally done in the national economy, and therefore, had to prove that the claimant could do other work.
The claimant’s treating pulmonologist, arthritis specialist, and chiropractor opined that the claimant lacked the ability to perform sedentary work. Their opinions were supported by EMG and MRIs. The claimant’s psychologist concluded the claimant lacked the ability to perform simple work on a sustained basis, which was based on a battery of psychological testing. On the other hand, the government’s evidence consisted of a review of only some of the claimant’s medical records. The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) concluded that SSA’s medical review was insufficient to prove the claimant could do other work in light of the other medical evidence, and approved SSD benefits.
If the claimant’s past work did not involve special accommodations, then the ALJ would have needed to determine if the claimant were able to do his past work. In making that determination, the ALJ could have concluded that the claimant’s medical evidence was not sufficient to support his burden of proving that he was unable to do his past work.Previous Next
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