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Some New Social Security Case Rulings

7th Circuit released a ruling on March 6, 2012 that will allow ERISA Longterm disability plans to offset benefits to the insured due to Social Security benefits received for their dependent children. The case is SCHULTZ v. AVIALL, INC . This case affects claimant’s in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin. While it may change the law there, please note thatother courts have already found that children’s benefits can be offset, including cases in the 2nd circuit.

THAYER v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY : Affirmed – case regarding materiality of Substance Abuse where the court found the claimant’s substance abuse was material to her disability and thus denied her claim

CENTENO v. ASTRUE: Reversed and Remanded: 1. Hypothetical question that fails to state specifically claimant’s limitations in literacy and ability to communicate in English is erroneous (ALJ’s failure to define some or limited results an incomplete hypothetical) 2. Varied reports from Doctor does not constitute a conflict between Doctor’s statement and objective medical evidence for the purpose of giving weight to Treating physician statements.

ELLIS v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY :Reversed and Remanded – Records that post date date last insured are relevant and an ALJ cannot disregard a treating physician’s post date last insured opinion without comment.

COLLIER v. ASTRUE : Reversed and Remanded – another case regarding controlling weight to a treating physician’s statements and ALJ’s findings that they are not supported by the weight of the evidence

YOUNG v. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY : Remanded for clarification – an ALJ’s boilerplate statements of “[a]fter careful consideration of the evidence, I find that the claimant’s medically determinable impairments could reasonably be expected to cause the alleged symptoms; however, the claimant’s statements concerning the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms are not credible to the extent that they are inconsistent with the above residual functional capacity assessment.” is insufficient discussion of the claimant’s credibility or the weight given to treating physician’s statements.