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Eighth Circuit holds incomplete hypothetical put to vocational expert; case remanded

An ALJ may rely on the testimony of a vocational expert (VE) in determining what jobs a claimant can perform given the individual's residual functional capacity. However, a VE's testimony can only serve as substantial evidence if it is given in response to a properly formulated hypothetical question that comprehensively describes all of a claimant's limitations. Here, the claimant suffered from numerous medical issues. Two medical professionals opined that, given the claimant's various conditions, her ability to adapt to a workplace was limited. The ALJ found in favor of the professionals' credibility and assigned significant weight to both of the opinions. In response to the hypothetical posed at the hearing, the VE testified that the claimant would be able to perform various sedentary jobs that are available in the national economy. On appeal, the claimant argued that the ALJ's hypothetical failed to account for all of her limitations. The court agreed, concluding that the hypothetical posed to the VE did not include the adaptive limitations described by the medical sources to who the ALJ assigned significant weight. Therefore, because the VE's testimony was based on an incomplete hypothetical, it could not serve as substantial evidence to support the ALJ's determination that the claimant could perform work and was not disabled. The judgment of the district court was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings (Rhonda Gann v. Berryhill, CA-8, No. 16-2168, July 28, 2017).