‘Mysterious Pain’|Isn’t a Disability

(CN) – A construction labor who allegedly suffers from a “mysterious pain disorder (that has) withered his physical prowess and left him unable to work” is not entitled to disability benefits, the 7th Circuit ruled. Despite Kevin Simila’s alleged muscle and joint pain, chronic headaches and back problems, the “once strapping” worker went deer hunting and ice fishing, took his son to hockey games and helped build a log home.

     The administrative law judge rightfully found that Simila, who applied for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, was not disabled, Judge Tinder of the Chicago-based appeals court wrote.
     Several doctors reported that Simila “overus(ed)” painkillers, such as Vicodin and Percocet, which could have caused the headaches. Also, he reacted to certain muscle strength tests in a way that indicated that he may have been “exaggerating the effects of the pain,” the ruling states.
     The administrative law judge properly placed little weight on a letter submitted by one of Simila’s doctors, due to the letter’s inconsistencies, and the fact that the doctor failed to mention any of Simila’s physically demanding side jobs, Tinder wrote.
     Tinder disagreed with Simila’s argument that his extracurricular activities were “akin to the occasional driving, shopping, housework and therapeutic walking” discussed in case law.

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