Thursday, May 16, 2013

social security disability - remand - legibility of notes of treating physician

Grice v. Astrue – ED Pa. – May 15, 2013 

Plaintiff, Michael Grice, seeks judicial review of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration’s denial of his application for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income. Grice contends that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in concluding he has the residual functioning capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work.

Specifically, Grice argues that the ALJ erred in (1) failing to credit his treating physician’s opinion that he has manipulative limitations, and (2) relying on the Medical-Vocational Guidelines despite the ALJ’s finding that Grice suffers from both exertional and nonexertional limitations.

As discussed below, it is premature to rule on either of these issues because the ALJ does not appear to have considered the illegible treatment notes of Grice’s treating physician. Accordingly, the Court will GRANT Plaintiff’s motion to remand with an instruction that the ALJ obtain a legible copy of the treatment notes so that the ALJ’s RFC determination can properly take into account all relevant medical evidence.