Richardson v. Astrue, No. 11-4096 (10th Cir. 2011)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-Appellant Thomas Richardson appealed a district court's order that affirmed the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of his application for Childhood Disability Benefits. Plaintiff filed two applications: one for Childhood Disability Benefits as a Disabled Adult Child and another for Supplemental Security Income benefits. Plaintiff was diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder; the examining physician opined that Plaintiff had a "fairly severe disability" such that he probably would not be able to find a job or remain employed. Both of Plaintiff's applications were initially denied. The ALJ found no evidence that Plaintiff was under a disability beginning before his twenty-second birthday, and that his impairment did not prevent him from performing unskilled work. The Commissioner affirmed the ALJ. After the Appeals Council denied review, Plaintiff filed an action in district court seeking reversal of the Commissioner’s decision denying his claim. The district court affirmed the Commissioner’s decision, and Plaintiff filed a timely appeal. On appeal, the Commissioner initially asserted that the ALJ’s findings were largely consistent with the examining physician's findings. However, upon review, the Tenth Circuit concluded that the ALJ made no such findings: the ALJ did not mention the physician's opinion "much less evaluate whether it was supported by the record." The Court remanded the case back to the ALJ to perform a proper evaluation of the physician's opinion.