The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Nieves V. Sec'y HHS

Date: 
01/01/1985

ALJ is not at liberty to substitute her own opinions of an individual's health for uncontroverted medical evidence. ALJ erred in discrediting IQ scores where such test results are the only evidence on the point before the ALJ. It was error for ALJ to conclude that IQ score of 63 must be invalid because claimant had a work history. An IQ score of 63 and a steady work history are not necessarily incompatible. Claimant's work-related functions only became significantly limited when she developed a physical impairment in addition to her mild mental retardation. Under the mental retardation listings for adults, the lowest I.Q. score is to be used in determining whether an adult claimant meets the listing. If claimant's IQ is between 60 and 69, listing 12.05 requires an additional impairment imposing "additional and significant work-related limitation of function," which means that "its effect on a claimant's ability to perform basic work activities is more than slight or minimal." An impairment that meets the severity standard of the sequential evaluation a fortiori satisfies the significant limitations standard.


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