7th Circuit Court of Appeals reverses ALJ ruling denying Social Security disability benefits

The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling of an Administrative Law Judge that Social Security disability benefits claimant Debbie Stage was not eligible for said benefits because she can still work despite her handicap.

Stage is claiming that ever since she slipped two discs while performing work-related duties at a factory in 1985, she had been experiencing debilitating back and hip pain, which caused her to be unable to work starting in 2009.

However, the claims judge said that Stage can perform a minimum amount of work, which specifically entails standing and walking for six hours a day, which is a job description of someone who works as a small-parts assembler, a production assembler, or an electronics worker. The district court affirmed the decision.

This decision was opposed by the appeals court. In Debbie A. Stage v. Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Judge David Hamilton said that the disorders affecting the claimant show that she cannot perform work, noting, “It strains credulity to find that a claimant who needed a hip replacement and had to sit while showering and shopping for groceries was capable of standing for six hours a day in the workplace.”