Hypothetical question to VE must account for a claimant’s limitations, says court
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Friday, May 31, 2019

Hypothetical question to VE must account for a claimant’s limitations, says court

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

When an ALJ finds that there are documented limitations in a claimant’s concentration, persistence, and pace, the hypothetical question posed to the vocational expert (VE) must account for those limitations. Here, the medical record included opinions from a treating physician and an agency psychologist who both reported that the claimant’s conditions impacted his level of attention and concentration. Based on the record, the ALJ acknowledged that the claimant had "moderate" difficulty with concentration, persistence, and pace. Yet, neither the ALJ’s hypothetical question posed to the VE nor the residual functional capacity assessment accounted for the finding that the claimant had difficulties with concentration, persistence, and pace. Although particular words need not be specified, the court noted that something in the hypothetical question and RFC was required to account for the claimant’s concentration-functioning deficits. Moreover, the ALJ disregarded testimony from the VE about a person with moderate limitations in concentration, persistence, and pace being unable to sustain employment. Therefore, the district court’s decision upholding the benefits denial was reversed and the case was remanded to the agency (Ronnie L. Winsted, Jr. V. Commr., CA-7, No. 18-2228, February 8, 2019).

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