Wednesday, November 30, 2005

disability - Title II - claim denied

Truett v. Barnhart - ED Pa. - November 23, 2005

Claim for Title II benefits denied.

treating physician opinion - The TP's opinion was rejected, because it was substantially inconsistent with the claimant's own description of her activities of daily living (ADL).
consultative physician opinion - The ALJ's acceptance and rejection of various portions of the CP's opinion was upheld. The court found (without any great discussion) that this was supported by substantial evidence.

no duty to seek clarification from treating physician - The court said that there was adequate evidence on which the ALJ could base his opinion about disability and thus no duty on the part of the ALJ to seek additional or clarifying information from the treating physician. That is only required, under 20 CFR 404.1512, when the information is "inadequate" and the ALJ "cannot reach a conclusion" about whether the applicant is disabled. The existence of conflicting evidence does not, ipso facto, mean that the evidence is inadequate. "Nothing here indicates that the record lacked enough data for the ALJ to make a sound determination."

no severe impairment of right arm or left knee -- The court upheld this finding, since there was "no clinical evidence" to support a finding of a "severe impairment" and substantial evidence to support the ALJ's finding.

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services