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Win for Social Security Disability client with severe psoriasis and arthritis: Federal District Court Remand

O’Malley Tunstall, PLLC filed suit on behalf of Penny Hartman against Social Security for its denial of her disability benefits in 4:12CV46 Federal Court Eastern District of North Carolina. Federal District Court Judge Boyle found that Ms. Hartman suffers from severe psoriasis and arthritis. The psoriasis affects her ability to concentrate because of pain and discomfort. She has to wear loose fitting pajamas and bed room slippers because regular clothing causes additional pressure on the psoriasis making it crack and bleed. You can only file suit against Social Security after all administrative proceedings have been exhausted (application, reconsideration, hearing, review of hearing by Appeal’s Council). Judge Boyle found that the questions asked by the Administrative Law Judge working for Social Security to the vocational expert did not include all of the limitations that Ms. Hartman suffers. “The purpose of hearing testimony offered by the VE is to assist the ALJ in determining whether there are jobs available in the national economy which the particular claimant can actually perform.” (Order page 4 citing Walker v. Bowen, 889 F.2d 47 (4th Cir. 1989)) “The [question] pose by the ALJ must adequately convey to the VE the claimant’s impairments that affect her ability to function.” (Order page 4 citing Fisher v. Barnhart, 181 Fed Appx. 359, 364-65 (4th Cir. 2006) (unpublished)) Judge Boyle found “Given the extensive, severe and disabling nature of the Plaintiff’s psoriasis, the [question] posed by the ALJ fails to sufficiently address the severity of the situation.” (Order page 4). The case has been remanded for further development of the VE testimony and consideration by the ALJ of the full range of our clients medical limitations. Congratulations to our Social Security team and specifically Susan O’Malley for her excellent work on this case. Board Certified Social Security Specialist — Susan O\’Malley For more information on Social Security visit our website.

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