Chaudhry v. Astrue

Summarized by:

  • Court: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Archives
  • Area(s) of Law: Disability Law
  • Date Filed: 08-10-2012
  • Case #: 11-35072
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Circuit Judge Rawlinson for the Court; Circuit Judge O'Scannlain; District Judge Molloy
  • Full Text Opinion

In a Social Security disability hearing, an ALJ is not required to obtain the disability determination from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA) where the applicant is represented by counsel and the record contains evidence of the applicant's DVA disability rating.

Muhammad Chaudhry seeks review of the finding by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), and claims that the ALJ erred in not finding him disabled. Chaudhry complained of migraines, depression and narcolepsy. The Court reviewed medical records from various medical doctors associated with Chaudhry’s claimed illnesses. These revealed that Chaudhry was complaining of high pain levels and using a cane and wheelchair, despite never being prescribed either. The ALJ, in looking at his medical records, found that Chaudhry did not make “any attempts to increase his functionality.” The ALJ found that Chaudhry had the capability to work, “with specified limitations.” In response to Chaudhry’s argument that the ALJ erred in not obtaining his disability determination from the DVA, the Court found that there was adequate information because his VA disability rating was part of the court record. Also, the ALJ’s evaluation of Chaudhry’s psychiatric impairments was supported by the record, despite Chaudhry’s argument that they were not properly evaluated. The Court also upheld the ALJ’s finding that certain medical opinions should not be given weight, mainly because of the information on which they relied. Chaudhry’s opinion of his own disability was not found to be credible by the ALJ. With regards to Chaudhry’s carpal tunnel syndrome, there is no official diagnosis and no evidence that it would last more than 12 months, and thus the ALJ’s determination was correct. The Court held that the ALJ’s decision was in line with the evidence in the record. AFFIRMED.

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