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DECISIONS DECISIONS SOCIAL SERVICES the social security Administration’s method of determining whether a child has two “marked” limitations or one “extreme” limitation gives sufficient consideration to the combined impact of multiple impairments, the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on May 28. Encarnacion v. Barnhart, No. 02-6192. Elisa Encarnacion sued on behalf of a class of children who were denied aid under the Supplemental Security Income for the Aged, Blind and Disabled program. Under the program, the Social Security Administration (SSA) evaluates children under six domains; they are entitled to benefits if they show marked limitations in two domains, or an extreme limitation in one domain. Encarnacion challenged the agency’s methodology because it did not add up lesser limitations across domains to reach the status of either a marked or extreme limitation and gave no weight to some of the children’s impairments. The district court granted SSA’s motion to dismiss. The 2d Circuit affirmed, ruling that the agency’s practice met the requirement of 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(G), that “the combined effects of all of the individual’s impairments” should be considered. “Under our understanding, nothing would preclude SSA from adjusting an otherwise moderate, but nearly marked, limitation in domain A up to fully marked to account for the effect of a limitation in domain B.”

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