Social Security Disability and SSI claimants have another positive court ruling on a mental impairment case. The District Court in the Northern District of Florida reversed the Administration’s decision denying benefits in Williams v. Astrue where a Claimant was alleging disability based on Listing 12.05 for Mental Retardation. The ALJ improperly rejected the plaintiff’s full scale IQ score of 66.
Where the examining psychologist does not doubt the accuracy of the plaintiff’s IQ score, the ALJ may not arbitrarily substitute his own opinion that the score may be based on past drug use or low motivation. The plaintiff’s consistently low GAF score suggests deficits in adaptive functioning. Finally, the ALJ’s determination that her past performance of semi-skilled work invalidated the IQ score is not supported by substantial evidence in the record. Although the DOT description of “day care worker” is semi-skilled, there is no indication that her job duties were semi-skilled. An individual with mild mental retardation may be able to work until a physical impairment is developed. The plaintiff later developed degenerative disc disease which prevented her from performing her former work at the day care or as a cleaner.
If you need more information about a personal injury matter (car wreck, boating accident, slip and fall, etc.), Social Security Disability or SSI matter, EEOICPA claim, or a workers compensation matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611, by e-mail at [email protected], or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout East Tennessee, including Knoxville, Chattanooga, Kingsport, Bristol, Johnson City, Morristown, Maryville, Rogersville, Dandridge, Tazewell, New Tazewell, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Sevierville, Gatlinburg, Loudon, Kingston, Halls, Maynardville, Crossville, Cookeville, Sweetwater, Lenoir City, Athens, Oak Ridge, Clinton, LaFollette, Lake City, Jacksboro, Bean Station, Cosby, Newport, White Pine, Mosheim, Wartburg, Sunbright, Pigeon Forge, and Deer Lodge.