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Can I Receive Disability Because of Problems with Concentration?

Posted on in Social Security Disability Medical Conditions

IL disability lawyerThere are a wide variety of different types of disabilities that can affect a person’s ability to work. However, this does not mean that a person will automatically qualify for Social Security disability benefits. To make the case that you are disabled, you will need to meet certain requirements, including receiving evaluations from medical experts, and you will need to specify how a physical or mental condition has affected your ability to work. One type of disability that is not always fully understood is the inability to concentrate on your work and complete the tasks involved in a regular workday.

Illinois Court Reverses Decision Based on Improper Consideration of a Vocational Expert’s Testimony

An administrative law judge (ALJ) may choose to deny a disability claim because they believe that an applicant should be able to find employment that fits any restrictions or requirements that may apply to a person’s condition, including issues with “concentration, persistence, and pace.” However, an ALJ must properly consider the evidence in a case, including testimony from a vocational expert (VE). One recent case that was heard in the U.S. District Court of Illinois demonstrated how a denial may be based on a faulty consideration of a VE’s testimony.

In this case, Timothy S. C. v Commissioner of Social Security, the plaintiff, a 50-year-old man, was found to have a number of severe impairments, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, arthritis, kidney disease, depression, and anxiety. He had previously worked in construction and as a food prepper and dishwasher, but he stated that he could no longer work due to blood pressure, fatigue, depression, sleep issues, and other health concerns. Lack of concentration was a key factor in his ability to continue working.

The ALJ found that although the plaintiff was unable to perform work he had done in the past, he was not disabled because he should have been able to find work that fit his level of function. Specifically, the ALJ stated that the plaintiff could perform work at a “medium exertional level,” but that he would be restricted to simple, routine tasks, and he could interact with coworkers or supervisors but should not have contact with the public.

The assessment of a vocational expert was one of the key factors in the decision in this case. After reviewing the plaintiff’s records, the VE stated that he was “moderately limited” in his ability to carry out instructions and adapt to a changing work environment, he also noted that the plaintiff was limited in his ability to maintain concentration for extended periods and work throughout the day without interruptions due to psychological symptoms. The ALJ’s decision was based on the VE’s answer to a hypothetical question about whether the plaintiff would be able to work if he was limited to simple, routine work.

After reviewing the case, the magistrate ruled that the ALJ did not properly consider the VE’s assessment. Previous cases have found that limiting a person to simple, routine tasks does not properly account for moderate limitations on a person’s ability to maintain concentration. The hypothetical posed by ALJ did not sufficiently address the VE’s finding that the plaintiff had limited ability to maintain attention and concentration. Because of this, the magistrate reversed the ALJ’s decision and remanded the case to the Commissioner of Social Security for a rehearing.

Contact a Chicago Social Security Disability Claim Attorney

If you cannot work because of an inability to concentrate, you will want to be sure to provide the proper evidence when making a Social Security Disability claim. If you have been denied benefits, Pearson Disability Law, LLC can help you appeal this decision, and we will work to make sure you receive the benefits you need. Contact our Chicago Social Security disability lawyer at 312-999-0999 to arrange a free consultation.





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