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Public Health – disability benefits

U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit


Public Health – disability benefits

Where the ALJ discounted the opinion of the agency’s own examining physician, the denial of disability benefits must be reversed.

“This appeal from the denial of Social Security disability benefits is unusual because the administrative law judge discounted the opinion of the agency’s own examining physician to conclude that the claimant before him was not disabled. Claimant Cheryl Beardsley argues that the ALJ erred by giving too little weight to the opinion of the examining doctor and too much weight to an erroneous view of her daily activities, particularly the care she provided for her elderly mother. Ms. Beardsley also argues that the ALJ improperly held against her the decision not to seek surgery without trying to ascertain the reasons for her reluctance. We agree. These errors undermined the ‘logical bridge’ between evidence and conclusion that is needed to affirm a denial of disability benefits. See Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 872 (7th Cir. 2000). The judgment of the district court affirming the denial of benefits is reversed and Ms. Beardsley’s case is remanded to the Commissioner of Social Security for proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

Reversed and Remanded.

13-3609 Beardsley v. Colvin

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, Van Bokkelen, J., Hamilton, J.

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