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August 2013 Archives

Social Security Disability, SSI hearing? You have a right to legal counsel.

The Judge's Duty to Inform Claimant of Their Right to Counsel When a plaintiff is unrepresented at a hearing, the judge is obligated to inform them that they have the right to have counsel represent them. The judge should inform the unrepresented claimant that a representative can help prepare their case as well as present the case to the judge. When the claimant is mentally impaired then the judge's duty is heightened. The judge also has the duty to develop the record for an unrepresented claimant. If these duties are not satisfied, then the case can be overturned and remanded. Wiszowaty v. Astrue, 861 F. Supp.2d 924(N.D. Ind. 2012). 20130805-222442.jpg

You must be able to walk to work says Federal District Court Judge

Recently Joe Tunstall successfully argued a Social Security case that had been worked on by Susan O'Malley and Amos Waranch in front of  Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle who found that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing Social Security Disability cases must look at whether a claimant can perform a full range of work; which includes the ability to walk 6 hours out of an 8 hour day for light work.  Lyons v. Colvin 4:12 CV 210. Susan and Maisey at Wags 4 Tags Susan and Maisey at Wags 4 Tags Judge Boyle determined that the ALJ erred when he failed to give any consideration for the lack of ability to walk for any considerable distance.  In fact, the fact that the claimant could only walk for six minutes without getting short of breath was not considered relevant by the ALJ.  Clearly this "walking test" given by the treating physician was relevant to the client being able to walk for 6 hours per day.  Judge Boyle found that as the claimant could not perform light work, then under the law the claimant was disabled and ordered benefits. Susan and Amos have many hours trying, appealing and briefing the issues for this client. This case is ongoing and could, like Hines v. Barnhart, be appealed by the Government.

Witness statements and medication side effects must be considered in Social Security Disability Hearings says Federal Judge

Recently Joe Tunstall successfully argued a Social Security case that had been worked on by Susan O'Malley and Amos Waranch in front of  Federal District Court Judge Terrence Boyle who found that an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing Social Security Disability cases must take into account witness statements and medication side effects when deciding permanent restrictions.  Boddie v. Colvin 4:12 CV 221 Judge Boyle determined that the ALJ erred when failing to even discuss the testimony of third parties and explain why the testimony was or was not given weight.  Judge Boyle used a case that Susan O'Malley had argued before him in 2005 called Hines v. Barnhart (upheld by the 4th Circuit) to determine that the vocational expert must be given a hypothetical that clearly sets out all the claimant's impairments and cannot merely "pick and choose" the what information will be asked of the expert. This case is ongoing and could, like Hines v. Barnhart, be appealed by the Government. Personal Injury Attorney -- Joe Tunstall Injury Lawyer -- Joe Tunstall

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