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How Does the Complexity of Work a Person Can Perform Affect Disability Benefits?

Posted on in Social Security Disability

IL disability lawyerTo receive Social Security disability benefits, you will not only need to show that your physical or mental conditions have caused you to be unable to work in jobs you have previously done, but you will also need to demonstrate that you are unable to find gainful employment in positions that are available in the United States economy. In many cases, Social Security disability claims are denied because a vocational expert (VE) testifies that a person should be able to work in certain jobs that fit their physical or mental limitations. However, these denials may be made based on an improper consideration of the complexity of the work a person is able to perform.

Magistrate Overrules Denial of Benefits Based on Limitations Regarding One-to-Two Step Tasks

One recent case in Illinois courts addressed work limitations and the improper denial of benefits. In the case of Michael S. v. Commissioner of Social Security, the plaintiff had applied for Social Security disability benefits based on cognitive impairments such as memory loss, attention deficit disorder, and depression. After disability benefits were denied, the plaintiff appealed this decision, and the court ruled in his favor and remanded the case to the Commissioner of Social Security for reconsideration. After considering new evidence, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) again denied benefits, and the plaintiff appealed this decision as well.

The key issue in this appeal involved the opinions of two state agency psychologists stating that the plaintiff should be limited to one-to-two step tasks while at work. Based on the testimony of a medical expert, the ALJ rejected this limitation and found that the plaintiff could perform light work while being limited to tasks that involved simple decision-making.

When reviewing the case, the magistrate found that the ALJ did not provide a valid basis for rejecting the limitation to one-to-two step tasks. Even though the medical expert stated that this limitation was an appropriate recommendation, the ALJ claimed that there was some confusion about what exactly could be considered a “step” or a “task.” However, the magistrate noted that the judge who had previously ruled on the case had stated that one-to-two step tasks were equivalent to Reasoning Development Level 1, a standard used to determine whether a person can perform certain jobs.

The magistrate also found that the ALJ had inappropriately stated that the plaintiff was not disabled because he could perform tasks such as driving a car or mowing the lawn. The ALJ did not examine how the ability to complete these tasks applied to the plaintiff’s ability to perform one-to-two step tasks while at work, and because of this, the conclusion that the plaintiff was not disabled was not supported by logical reasoning. For these reasons, the magistrate remanded the case to the Commissioner of Social Security for further consideration.

Contact Our Illinois Disability Benefits Denial Attorney

The reasons for the denial of Social Security disability benefits can be complicated, and when appealing these decisions, it is important to work with an attorney who can ensure that all factors are properly considered. Pearson Disability Law, LLC can provide the legal representation you need and help you appeal the improper denial of the benefits you deserve. Contact a Chicago Social Security disability appeals lawyer today at 312-999-0999 to arrange a complimentary consultation.




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