United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit.
March 13, 2012. Affirmed
March 13, 2012. REVERSED and REMANDED
Treatment notes that contain a description of symptoms, diagnosis, and a judgment about the severity of impairments constitutes a treating source statement in which weight must be discussed and given. Further “conclusory statements by an ALJ to the effect that an opinion is inconsistent with or not bolstered by the medical record are insufficient to show an ALJ’s decision is supported by substantial evidence unless the ALJ articulates factual support for such a conclusion.” Here the ALJ issued a conclusory statement and did not state what objective evidence was lacking from the records, which is insufficient to satisfy the the standard of the 11th circuit.
However, an ALJ has no duty to give significant or controlling weight to a chiropractor’s views because, for SSA purposes, a chiropractor is not a “medical source” who can offer medical opinions. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1513, 416.913, 404.1527(a)(2); Crawford v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1160 (11th Cir. 2004). Further, as stated above, even a medical source’s statement that a claimant is “unable to work” or “disabled” does not bind the ALJ, who alone makes the ultimate determination as to disability under the regulations. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(e)(1), 416.927(e)(1).