Use of boilerplate language OK if ALJ indicates what information was used to justify negative credibility finding
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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Use of boilerplate language OK if ALJ indicates what information was used to justify negative credibility finding

By Payroll and Entitlements Editorial Staff

The use of boilerplate language does not automatically undermine an ALJ’s conclusion if he or she otherwise indicates what information was used to justify a negative credibility finding. Here, the claimant argued that the ALJ improperly relied on boilerplate language in discussing her credibility. Specifically, the claimant contended that the ALJ unduly relied on her daily activities as evidence that she could perform light work in jobs that existed in the national economy. The court determined that the ALJ went further than merely using boilerplate language in discussing the claimant’s credibility. The ALJ’s opinion contained a detailed discussion of the medical evidence in the case supporting the decision that the claimant was capable of light work with more restrictions than outlined by any agency doctor or psychologist. Moreover, the court reasoned that the ALJ did not equate the claimant’s daily activities with the ability to work full time. Rather, the ALJ used the claimant’s statements regarding her reported activities to assess the credibility of her statements concerning the intensity, persistence, or limiting effects of her symptoms. Furthermore, the court may only disturb an ALJ’s credibility finding if it is patently wrong. The ALJ provided evidence-supported reasons for the credibility determination that the claimant’s daily life demonstrated a high level of functioning and suggested she was not as limited as her allegations of disabling symptoms indicated. Because the ALJ properly evaluated the claimant’s credibility and medical opinions in the case, the denial of benefits was affirmed (Bettie Burmester v. Commr., CA-7, No. 18-2106, April 5, 2019).

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