United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Public Health — disability benefits
A former welder who could not work because of a nerve disorder that impairs his vision is entitled to disability benefits.
“On the ALJ’s logic, a person suffering from an impairment that has not become disabling must act and seek treatment as if the condition is disabling or else run the risk that any future assertion that the impairment has worsened will be viewed as a lie. We have recognized that even persons who are disabled sometimes cope with their impairments and continue working long after they might have been entitled to benefits. See Gentle v. Barnhart, 430 F.3d 865, 867 (7th Cir. 2005); Hawkins v. First Union Corp. Long-Term Disability Plan, 326 F.3d 914, 918 (7th Cir. 2003). Shauger emphasizes this point particularly with his purported lack of treatment history for his headaches. Not only did the ALJ fail to seek an explanation for the perceived lack of treatment, but her analysis rests on a misreading of the administrative record. In discrediting Shauger’s testimony about the severity of his headaches, the ALJ asserts that ‘there is no indication from the medical evidence of record that the claimant ever sought treatment for headaches.’ To the contrary, Shauger’s medical records leave no room for doubt that he initiated the second round of neurological testing in 1996 because he had serious headaches stemming from his left sixth nerve palsy.”
Reversed and Remanded.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin, Crabb, J., Bauer, J.