ALJ Failed to Properly Consider Side Effects of Medications

socialsecurityfederalcourtclaimThe Social Security Disability Lawyers (Columbus, GA) of Carmichael Law Group LLC are pleased to announce in Burden v. Colvin, 2:14-CV-915 (M.D. Ala. March 31, 2016), the Honorable Judge Walker for the Middle District of Alabama determined that the ALJ committed reversible error in failing to consider the side effects of the Claimant’s prescription medication and in failing to fully develop the Claimant’s medical history. The ALJ’s failure to address Claimant’s testimony about the side effects of her medications was legal error which prevented the consideration of substantial evidence about her disability. The Court also found that the ALJ has the responsibility to fully develop the medical history of claimant and “fully and fairly develop the record.”

Social Security Disability Attorney Brian Carmichael argued “the side effects of medication could render a claimant disabled or at least contribute to a disability.” The Court found that the ALJ has a duty to consider side effects that “render [the claimant] disabled or at least contribute to a disability.” The Court stated that the “ALJ is responsible for making a finding regarding the side effects [claimant] alleges.” Further, “the Commissioner should make findings regarding the alleged side effects of [claimant’s] medication on [claimant’s] ability to work.”

On the issue of the development of claimant’s medical history, our Columbus, Georgia Social Security Attorney asserted that “the ALJ should have contacted [the doctor] regarding ambiguity in the record” instead of rejecting the doctor’s recommendations. The Court then ruled that the ALJ must specifically “develop the claimant’s complete medical history for at least 12 months preceding” the filing and “make reasonable efforts to help a claimant get medical reports from the claimant’s own medical sources.” The ALJ must “ensure that the medical record was adequately developed for the purpose of making a disability determination.”

We are looking forward to arguing on our client’s behalf in the new administrative hearing and advocating for her to get the Social Security benefits she was previously denied. If you live in Alabama or Georgia and your claim was recently denied by the Appeals Council, we will happily review your matter to determine if we can assist you in filing a civil action in Federal Court.