Vincent v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec (N.D. Ga. Mar. 21, 2018) (Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman)

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Included: Plaintiff’s Brief and Order

Issues Briefed:

  1. 1)  The Appeals Council erred by refusing to grant review despite the submission of important additional evidence undermining the ALJ’s decision.

  2. 2)  The ALJ committed reversible error by concluding Mr. Vincent’s alleged substance use was material to his disability without complying with applicable standards or properly separating out the effects of the alleged substance use from his underlying mental illness.

  3. 3)  The ALJ’s total failure to evaluate the lay evidence cannot be sustained.

After Plaintiff filed his brief, the Commissioner sought a voluntary remand. The Court granted the remand motion, remanding this case to the Commissioner under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(b) with instructions to:

further evaluate the claimant’s substance use disorder, with specific consideration of ix

the claimant’s functional limitations during his periods of abstinence; further evaluate the claimant’s non-compliance with prescribed treatment, if appropriate; evaluate the evidence that was submitted to the Appeals Council; evaluate the lay witness evidence of record; offer the claimant the opportunity for a new hearing; and issue a new decision.