The attorneys at our firm worked on an important Social Security Disability case. The Court’s decision expanded and clarified disability law.
In this case, the administrative law judge ruled that a woman did not meet the standard to be considered mentally retarded (intellectually disabled) because she did not have deficits in adaptive functioning. On appeal, the Court provided further instructions for the administrative law judge.
The Court had concerns about the administrative law judge’s approach.
The Court determined that the administrative law judge’s approach to assessing the woman’s adaptive functioning was misguided and explained why. The Court expressed its confusion over the administrative law judge’s contradictory findings, and it expressed concern about the administrative law judge’s explanations for the rulings. For example, the administrative law judge relied on a medical expert’s testimony that the woman’s adaptive functioning was “fairly adequate” and on her past unskilled work. But the medical expert’s testimony did not clearly contradict another doctor’s finding that the woman had mild mental retardation. Also, the administrative law judge may have placed undue emphasis on the woman’s past work experience. A person can meet the diagnostic description of mild mental retardation even though she has worked in the past.
The Court explained how it wanted the administrative law judge to examine the case.
The Court concluded by asking the administrative law judge to reconsider its determination that the woman did not meet the necessary standards for mental retardation. The Court also ruled that the administrative law judge should explain the standard by which it assessed the woman’s deficits, clarify its specific reasons for rejecting her claim, and, if necessary, obtain further evidence or evaluations to evaluate her adaptive functioning.
To discuss your Social Security Disability matter with a Houston disability law attorney, contact us.
The Social Security Disability lawyers at Morgan & Weisbrod, LLP understand the standards at play and the evidence a person needs to satisfy those standards in intellectual disability matters. If you would like to speak to one of our attorneys about whether you or your loved one is eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits, contact us. You may reach us by filling out an online form or by calling 800-800-6353.
by Paul B. Burkhalter Managing Partner of Morgan & Weisbrod, Board Certified in Social Security Disability Law.