Wednesday, December 07, 2005

disability - VE hypo inadequate - remand

Baum v. Barnhart - ED Pa. - November 30, 2005

Held, the ALJ did not properly evaluate the claimant's residual functional capacity, because of improper hypothetical to the vocational expert. Claimant alleged disability based on back injury, pain, obesity, sleep disorder, depression, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc. Claimant is a younger individual with a h.s. education, prior work as carpenter in construction industry. The ALJ determined that CL could not do his former work and only a limited range of sedentary work.

Although it rejected claimant's position on other issues, the court upheld his claim about the inadequacy of the ALJ's hypo to the vocational expert, which in toto, was as follows: "I think from what the Claimant testified and what it looks like in the 1994 FCA, it looks like they thought he could do sedentary work. So why don't we assume sedentary with a sit/stand option. Are there jobs with that?"

Citing Ramirez v. Barnhart, 372 F3d 546 (3d Cir. 2004) and Chrupcala v. Heckler, 829 F.2d 1269 (3d Cir. 1987), the court said that "great specificity" was required in the hypo to the VE and that pain and other impairments, amply supported by the record, had to be figured in as well.

The court remanded the case for further proceedings pursuant to the fourth sentence of 42 USC 405(g).

Donald Marritz
MidPenn Legal Services