Thursday, August 30, 2007

disability - reversal v. remand - effect of substance abuse

Monagle v. Astrue - ED Pa. Augsut 24, 2007

The court held that it was appropriate to reverse and award benefits rather than remand for a further hearing, citing Morales v. Apfel, 225 F.3d 210 (3d Cir. 2000) and Allen v. Bowen, 881 F.2d 37 (3d Cir. 1989). There were no remaining evidentiary issues, and the opinions of the treating physicians that claimant was disabled, independent of his drug addiction, should have been followed.

The case also involved the problem of separating out the effect of marijuana addiction from claimant's bipolar disorder. There is good language in the case about the weight which should be given to the treating physician on this issue.