Man Loses Disability Appeal, Judge Ignores Ex-Wife Testimony

The Ninth Federal Court of Appeals recently ended the hopes of an Oregon man hoping to receive Social Security Disability Insurance (“SSDI”) or Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. At the administrative level, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) denied the man’s application for disability benefits. He appealed that decision to a federal court, which upheld the denial, and then he appealed that to the federal appeals court, which also upheld the denial. Assistance navigating the Social Security appeals process is available from a Tulsa Social Security Disability attorney.

The man’s appeal concerns two areas: the ALJ’s ignoring testimony of his ex-wife, and the ALJ’s disregarding testimony from another witness. His ex-wife provided testimony to support the man’s claim that he was disabled and unable to work at all. The ALJ gave her words limited weight, though, finding that the man had worked for nearly three years without problem following the time she claimed he was disabled. The federal appeals court found that the ALJ properly weighed these opposing items and dismissed the ex-wife’s testimony.

The other item that the man appealed concerned the ALJ dismissing another witness. The woman testified regarding the man’s mental health and his inability to lift more than 10 pounds. The appeals court found that the ALJ should have better considered this testimony, but that this oversight was harmless because the woman’s testimony was duplicative or because other findings outweighed her testimony. For example, mental health records about the man were already in the court record that the ALJ considered.

Troutman & Troutman, P.C. – Tulsa Social Security Disability lawyers


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