United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
VELVEETA A. JENKINS, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration,  Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
Hon. William T. Lawrence, Judge United States District Court Southern District of Indiana
Plaintiff Velveeta A. Jenkins requests judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner”), denying her application for Supplemental Social Security Income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). The Court now rules as follows.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Jenkins filed an application for SSI on May 17, 2010, alleging disability beginning December 1, 2001, due to diabetes, neuropathy in her hands and feet, degenerative joint disease in her knees, chronic back pain, and involuntary head movements. Jenkins’ application was initially denied on August 20, 2010, and again upon reconsideration on December 6, 2010. Thereafter, Jenkins requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). The hearing was held on August 15, 2011, before ALJ Michael Harris in Valparaiso, Indiana. During the hearing, Richard T. Fisher testified as a vocational expert. On August 18, 2011, the ALJ issued a decision denying Jenkins’ application for benefits. The Appeals Council upheld the ALJ’s decision and denied a request for review on August 21, 2012. This action for judicial review ensued.
II. EVIDENCE OF RECORD
The relevant medical evidence of record follows.
A. Sister Maura Brannick Clinic
For many years, Jenkins has treated with various physicians at the Sister Maura Brannick Clinic in South Bend, Indiana.
On June 16, 2002, Jenkins visited the Clinic complaining of “pseudoseizure activity.” Specifically, her head would involuntarily shake from side to side five to six times a day and she suffered from headaches. She followed up with the Neurology Department at Indiana University; however, no cause could be determined.
Throughout 2003 and 2004, Jenkins regularly complained of left hip pain, left shoulder pain, headaches, and continued shaking episodes. On January 26, 2004, an x-ray of her left hip revealed only “mild to moderate degenerative changes and mild to moderate changes of protrusion acetabulae” Tr. at 513.
On January 13, 2005, Jenkins began complaining of fatigue, pain in her left knee, and pain on the left side of her back. On January 27, 2005, an x-ray of her left knee indicated “degenerative changes.” By April 1, 2005, Jenkins began experiencing pain in both her knees. She had an x-ray of her right knee taken on May 19, 2005, which revealed “degenerative osteoarthritic changes.” One of Jenkins’ treating physicians, Dr. Leslie Bodnar, recommended weight loss and ibuprofen, as opposed to cortisone injections, to treat the pain.
On June 21, 2005, Jenkins returned to the Clinic after she bent over and experienced a sharp pain in her left side. The pain continued, and on July 14, 2005, an x-ray of the spine revealed “mild L4-5 intervertebral disc space narrowing.” Id. at 478. Also “a small osteophyte [was] suggested off the inferior posterior aspect of L4.” Id.
On September 22, 2005, Jenkins reported little relief from her knee pain. As a result, she received pain injections.
On May 11, 2006, Jenkins complained of pain in her knees and hip, blurry vision, fatigue, and headaches. Dr. Bradley Scott suggested a sleep study, an eye exam, and additional injections to treat the pain.
On June 8, 2006, Jenkins had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Scott regarding her diabetes, blood sugar levels, and involuntary movements. Dr. Scott prescribed Celexa to treat the stress and anxiety related involuntary movements and instructed Jenkins to begin dieting and exercising.
On October 9, 2006, Jenkins had a CT scan and x-rays taken of her lumbar spine. The tests indicated “mild intervertebral disc space narrowing at the L4-5 level[, and m]ild anterior spondylolytic changes of the lower thoracic spine [were] also noted.” Id. at 468.
During an appointment on January 3, 2007, Dr. Daniel Scherb noted that Jenkins suffered from hypertension, non-insulin dependent diabetes, hypertriglyceridemia, and morbid obesity. He recommended that Jenkins begin exercising. He also instructed her to follow up with Dr. Scott regarding her blood pressure.
On May 10, 2007, Jenkins met with Dr. Scott regarding her diabetes and pain in her left wrist. An x-ray of her wrist showed a small erosion in the ulnar styloid, but was otherwise unremarkable.
On August 9, 2007, Jenkins complained of pain in her hips. The doctor also noted that a recent eye exam was ...