Adam was found disabled on February 1, 2016 based on his major depressive disorder, personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, and panic disorder. Adam had initially filed a claim for SSDI on December 2013, which was denied on March 2014. Adam was denied for a second time on July 2014. Adam appeared at a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in Spokane, Washington on December 2015. Adam was represented by John Chihak. A medical expert appeared and testified at the hearing. A vocational expert also appeared at the hearing but did not testify.
At the hearing, Adam stated that he has tried to work several labor jobs over the years, but that he had lost those jobs because of his severe mood changes, problems with people, and chronic anxiety. Adam testified that his mood swings and anxiety make it hard for him to leave the house and that he often feels anxious around his own family. Adam reported that after getting fired from his last job, he knew that he needed to commit to seeking consistent mental health treatment.
The medical expert testified at the hearing that the record shows that Adam has had extensive psychological examinations and treatment. The medical expert noted that Adam’s depressive and anxiety based symptoms were pervasive throughout the record and were characterized by his consistent depressed mood, anger, low self-esteem, poor concentration, low motivation, and poor sleep. The medical expert gave the opinion that Adam’s mental health impairments met the severity of Social Security’s criteria for disability. The medical expert based her opinion on the records obtained by Chihak & Associates from the Rockwood Clinic and Frontier Behavioral Health of Spokane Washington. Additionally, the medical expert also stated that the opinion by Adam’s treating physician, which was obtained by Chihak & Associates, was consistent with the entire record that she reviewed.
The Administrative Law Judge, upon the completion of the medical expert’s testimony, found that she did not need to hear testimony from the vocational expert. The Administrative Law Judge, in agreement with the medical expert’s testimony, approved Adam’s claim.