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IL disability attorneyWe have seen a number of Social Security disability cases here in Illinois recently where the government has failed to properly account for an applicant's limitations in concentration, persistence, or pace (CPP). As defined by Social Security's own regulations, CPP refers to a person's “ability to sustain focused attention sufficiently long to permit the timely completion of tasks commonly found in work settings.” If an applicant's mental health impairments limit their CPP to the point where they cannot reasonably function in any work setting, they are generally entitled to receive disability benefits.

Appeals Court: ALJ Improperly Ignored Answer to Hypothetical Question

In the most recent decision from the Chicago-based U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals to address CPP limitations, Crump v. Saul, Social Security was once again faulted for its inadequate approach to this subject.

As described by the Court, the plaintiff in this case “has a long history of mental health impairments,” notably bipolar disorder. During a hearing before a Social Security administrative law judge (ALJ), the plaintiff “testified that she has 'too many thoughts at one time' and 'can't focus' on what she is supposed to be doing.” Despite acknowledging the plaintiff had “moderate” CPP limitations, however, the ALJ determined she did not meet the legal standard for disabled.

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IL disability lawyerIt is a sad truth that many of our U.S. military veterans suffer from mental health problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder. Unfortunately, Social Security officials often compound the suffering of our veterans by refusing to classify them as disabled, even in the face of overwhelming medical evidence. Indeed, there are many cases where the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) considers a veteran disabled but Social Security does not.

Federal Court Identifies Multiple Problems with Social Security Ruling

A recent decision by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals here in Chicago illustrates the unnecessary hardships faced by our veterans when dealing with the Social Security disability process. The plaintiff in this case is a 49-year-old woman who served as a chief petty officer in the United States Navy. During her service, the plaintiff was subjected to sexual harassment from her supervising officer. This led the plaintiff to develop migraines and sleeping problems.

After receiving an honorable discharge from the Navy eight years ago, the VA diagnosed the plaintiff with PTSD, military sexual trauma, and major depressive disorder. The plaintiff eventually applied for and received VA disability benefits. Then in 2013, the plaintiff applied for Social Security disability benefits. But Social Security denied her application after an administrative law judge (ALJ) after concluding the plaintiff “was still able to perform certain work and thus was not disabled.”

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