United States Court of Appeals For the Seventh Circuit
Public Health — disability
Where no one testified that a disability applicant was capable of working, the denial of benefits is reversed.
“At the disability hearing the administrative law judge asked the vocational expert about other limitations on ability to work full time that the evidence indicated that Garcia might have, including psychological problems that would preclude his exercising judgment more than occasionally. The vocational expert replied that even simple jobs require a more than occasional exercise of judgment. But having placed such emphasis on Garcia’s ability to stand up, walk in a straight line, etc., the administrative law judge concluded that he was fully capable of doing sedentary work as long as it was simple and repetitive. No evidence supports this conclusion. No physician testified—no medical records revealed—that Garcia has the residual functional capacity ascribed to him by the administrative law judge, who had acknowledged at the disability hearing that a person with the limits described in the medical assessment form that Garcia’s physician had filled out would be unable to perform any paid work on a full-time basis, let alone work actually available in the economy.”
“Garcia is one of the most seriously disabled applicants for social security disability benefits whom we’ve encountered in many years of adjudicating appeals from benefits denials. We are surprised that the Justice Department would defend such a denial.”
Reversed and Remanded.
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Rodovich, Mag. J., Posner, J.