The Seventh Circuit recently addressed the articulation standard required of ALJs when considering treating source opinions.
Agency regulations explain that: “[t]reating source means your own acceptable medical source who provides you, or has provided you, with medical treatment or evaluation and who has, or has had, an ongoing treatment relationship with you.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(a)(2). “Generally, [the Agency] will consider that you have an ongoing treatment relationship with an acceptable medical source when the medical evidence establishes that you see, or have seen, the source with a frequency consistent with accepted medical practice for the type of treatment and/or evaluation required for your medical condition(s).” Id. Ensuring proper analysis and articulation of treating source opinions is crucial, as these opinions provide critical support to a claimant’s disability application.
The Agency “will always consider the medical opinions in your case record together with the rest of the relevant evidence it receives.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(b). The Agency considers all of the following factors in deciding the weight we give to any medical opinion: (1) the examining relationship; (2) the treatment relationship, including the (i) length of the treatment relationship and frequency of examination, and (ii) nature and extent of the treatment relationship; (3) supportability; (4) consistency; (5) specialization; and (6) any other relevant factors. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c).
Recently, in Gerstner v. Berryhill, 879 F.3d 257, 263 (7th Cir. 2018) the Seventh Circuit held that “even if there were sound reasons for refusing to give Dr. Callaghan’s opinions controlling weight, the ALJ still erred by assigning his opinions little weight without considering relevant regulatory factors under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c).”
If you are appealing a case to the Seventh Circuit or to any of the district courts within, make sure to check the recent Seventh Circuit decisions at http://media.ca7.uscourts.gov/opinion.html