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Disability Filing – Expert Witness

7th Circuit Court of Appeals

Case Name: Georgann Sevec v. Kilolo Kijakazi

Case No.: 22-1442

Officials: Easterbrook, Ripple and Wood, Circuit Judges.

Focus: Disability Filing – Expert Witness

Sevec filed for disability and social security benefits in December 2017 and February 2018, respectively, alleging an onset of disability of May 1, 2014. Her application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. An administrative law judge (“ALJ”) conducted a hearing, at which Ms. Sevec and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. Relying on the VE’s testimony that Ms. Sevec was able to perform the job of home health nurse in the manner in which she had performed it in the past, the ALJ determined that Ms. Sevec was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied review. When Ms. Sevec sought further review in the district court, it concluded that substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s determination.

Although generally an ALJ may rely on the testimony of a VE, here the VE’s testimony is not well grounded in the record, and it is not sufficient, standing alone, to support the ALJ’s determination.

Reversed and remanded.

Decided 02/01/23

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