Second Circuit Reverses Faulty Step 4 Finding

Kristi Khughes May 14, 2018

In the case of a pro se appellant, the Second Circuit reversed a lower court finding and remanded for further proceedings.  Glessing v. Commissioner of Social Security, — Fed. Appx. —, 2018 WL 1050476 (2d Cir. Feb. 26, 2018). The District Court had upheld a decision that Mr. Glessing, a former NYPD detective, could return to his past work as a “Desk Officer.” The problem was Mr. Glessing never worked as a “Desk Officer.” He had been on “restricted duty,” which included answering telephones, for a short period of time because he could no longer go out on patrol. But his only past work was as a detective and security guard.


The Court held that the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) erred in including the Desk Officer job as past relevant work. As a result, the vocational expert testimony that Mr. Glessing could return to that work was erroneous. The Court was also unpersuaded by the Commissioner’s post hoc justification of the ALJ’s decision on appeal in that the ALJ analyzed how the past work was “actually performed” (he did not consider this) as opposed to “generally performed” (he only considered this).


It is always heartwarming when a person who believes he or she is right is willing to go to the mat, and ultimately prevails. Congratulations to Mr. Glessing.