Bill was found disabled as the result of his severe congestive heart failure; diabetes mellitus; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); sleep-related breathing disorder; affective disorder; and anxiety disorder.
Bill filed claims for SSI and SSDI on October 12, 2012. He was denied by the Agency twice before we requested a hearing for him November 30, 2011.
On March 18, 2014, Bill appeared at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Seattle, Washington. Bill was represented by John J. Chihak. A vocational expert appeared and testified at Bill’s hearing
Bill testified that he worked as tool and equipment clerk and cashier before his congestive heart failure, fatigue, and overall health deteriorated to the point that he was no longer able to sustain competitive full-time work. Bill also testified that he needs to elevate his legs while sitting. In addition, he stated that his heart problems prevent him from keeping pace with others. He noted that he has passed out due to his impairments. He testified that he has constant fatigue and needs to take naps on a daily basis.
Bill testified that he has a pacemaker, but it has not helped improve his functioning. He testified that he has problems breathing and dusts and other irritants cause significant problems with this breathing and he cannot be in hot environments, with he defined as anything over 70 degrees. He also stated he has problems with leg pain, dealing with others, and getting along with authority figures. He said that he also has problems with concentration. Bill testified that he struggles with anger and cognitive functioning on a daily basis. He noted that he has an ejection fraction of 17%, indicating severe heart problems interfering with his breathing and ability to climb stairs or do anything on his feet for more than a couple of minutes at a time.
Chihak + Chihak obtained medical evidence from the Minor & James Medical Center, Swedish Hospital Cherry Hill, including treatment records and specific limitations identified in the forms sent to Bill’s doctors, which all corroborated and affirmed Bill’s incapacitating mental and physical impairments.
At the hearing, a vocational expert testified that someone who is incapable of performing at a production rate pace (e.g. assembly line work) and would need to take two additional breaks of customary duration during the workday, would not be able to sustain any competitive work, even sedentary, simple and routine work, in the national economy.
The Administrative Law Judge, upon the completion of the vocational expert’s testimony, adopted the vocational expert’s opinion and approved Bill’s claim for disability.