In this case, Krueger v. Astrue, coming from the N.D. of Oklahoma, a woman now in her late 50’s was denied benefits despite suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, moderate/severe depression/anxiety, scattered pain, and headaches. The Administrative Law Judge held that this claimant was capable of performing her past work as a cashier and receptionist. The Appeals Court reversed the lower court on failing to do a proper credibility assessment as well as failing to do a proper analysis at step 4 and 5 of the 5 step disability analysis. This has to do with whether the claimant could perform her past work and whether she could do other work that exists in the national economy.
In this case the vocational expert had erred through their testimony by opining that a person with moderate limitations in dealing with members of the public could in fact perform the duties of a cashier even though the DOT (Dictionary of Occupational Titles) describes the job of cashier as one where there is significant contact with the public. The ALJ in this case erred through failure to reconcile this apparent conflict between VE testimony and the DOT.
The ALJ was also reversed because in direct contradiction with the record the ALJ held that the claimant had not been treated for IBS and was taking no medication for the problem. The claimant had in fact consulted her physician on this problem and was taking medication for it as well. The case was remanded for further inquiry into the issues at hand.