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DMR Eligibility Decision by H.O. Hudgins 6 11 05

Date: 
06/11/2005
Author: 
Hudgins
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Appeal denied by Commissioner on August 17, 2005

Keyword: intellectual function, mental illness and impairment

Hearing Officer: Marcia A. Hudgins

Counsel present for Appellant: No

Counsel present for DMR: Patrick Murphy

Appellant present: No

Hearing Officer Decision on June 11, 2005 REV DATE

 

Year

Test

Age

Score

Diagnosis in report

Verb.

Perf.

Full

1992

WISC-III

6

91

78

83

The examiner noted that the appellant had suffered significant emotional and physical trauma.

1994

WISC-R

9

80

82

80

The report stated that the appellant had deficits in concentration, attention, and short-term memory and that her cognition seemed to be influenced by serious emotional problems.

1998

WISC-III

13

52

52

48

The report stated that the test results were not reliable due to the appellant's trial-and-error approach to tasks. The examiner diagnosed the appellant with a major depressive disorder with periodic psychotic features.

2000

WISC-III

14

79

75

76

The examiner stated that both trauma and neglect had interfered with learning and remembering although the appellant's reasoning skills were at an average level. He also stated that the appellant might have a predisposition to major metal illness.

2002

WAIS-III

17

74

70

70

The clinician stated that the test results appeared to be a valid representation of the appellant's intelligence and noted that the appellant had a psychiatric diagnosis of bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and ADHD.

2005

WAIS-III

19

66

63

62

The report stated that the scores were in the mildly mentally retarded range of intellectual functioning. It also noted that the appellant had attention deficit disorder, depression, and anxiety disorder.

Although the medical affidavits in 2002 and 2003 stated that the appellant had bipolar disorder, PTSD, and ADHD, they did not have a check mark on the statement "The patient's mental retardation significantly impairs his judgment."  There was no indication of mental retardation in the affidavits.  In 2004, however, the court issued a Guardianship Decree finding that the appellant was mentally retarded. The court also issued the Decree of Guardianship in 1997 based on a finding of the appellant's mental illness.  A DSS social worker testified that the appellant had depression, PTSD, ADHD, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorder.

The DMR's expert stated that scores below 69 was within the range of mental retardation while scores of 70 to 79 were not. He noted that all the scores on parts of the tests that did not require concentration were in the average range. He also noted that the appellant had never been formally assessed as having mental retardation based on psychological testing and stated that the appellant's emotional disturbances and depression diagnosis could result in a decline of her scores.  He pointed out the appellant's significant reasoning skills, which he said was not seen in a person with mental retardation.  

The hearing officer found that the appellant was not mentally retarded because she did not have significantly sub-average intelligence. She noted that the most of the valid test scores prior to age 18 were above 75. She did not consider the 1998 evaluation because the test report stated that the test was not valid and found that the appellant's mental illness impacted on her ability to perform on intelligence tests.  She noted that functional limitations could be caused by mental illness rather than mental retardation and were not necessarily related to intellectual functioning

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