Social Security Benefits News from
the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision on February 10, 2017 stating that if the VA finds that a Claimant is 70% disabled and unemployable, that does not establish that she is entitled to SSA benefits. The Court noted a recent change in SSA’s regulation regarding decisions by other governmental agencies, which states that “for claims filed on or after March 27, 2017, SSA will not try to analyze the other agency’s decision, although it will consider the decision’s supporting evidence.”
The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals is not the circuit that covers Alabama, however, it is a very influential Court and its rulings tend to be followed by other circuits. In this case, Bird v. Berryhill, the Claimant was given a 70% service-connected disability rating but was paid at the full 100 percent rate because the VA found him unemployable. In their decision, the Court noted that there are differences in how the VA and SSA evaluate disability claims, specifically, that the VA’s rating process is pro-claimant, while the SSA is neutral.
The main problem in this case is that the grounds for Bird’s VA disability rating were not available to the Administrative Law Judge, nor were the results of an x-ray and MRI showing that he suffered from spinal fractures and bulging discs. This emphasizes the importance of submitting all medical evidence to the ALJ. Since the SSA will not analyze the disability ratings, it is very important to obtain and submit all testing and examinations that were performed by the VA while they were making their determination of disability.
For more information on Social Security disability benefits and VA benefits, contact an experienced Social Security disability attorney at Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. represents Social Security disability claimants in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Louisiana at all levels of the disability process from initial application to appeals to Federal Court. Gardberg & Kemmerly, P.C. has been helping Social Security claimants with their disability claims for over 50 years.