United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
DAVID OLIVO,  Plaintiff.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,  COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
ROBERT L. MILLER, Jr., District Judge.
David Olivo seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his applications for disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 423 and 1381 et seq. The court has jurisdiction over this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3). For the reasons that follow, the court affirms the Commissioner's decision.
Mr. Olivo contends that he has been disabled since July 8, 2009 as a result of various physical and mental impairments. His applications for benefits were denied initially, on reconsideration, and after an administrative hearing in September 2011. Mr. Olivo was represented by counsel at the hearing and on appeal.
In evaluating Mr. Olivo's disability claim, the ALJ considered the documentary evidence presented at the administrative hearing and testimony from Mr. Olivo and a vocational expert, Richard T. Fisher. Applying the agency's standard five-step analysis, 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520, the ALJ found that Mr. Olivo:
(1) had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 8, 2009;
(2) had severe physical and mental impairments, including disorders of the spine, bipolar disorder, depressive disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder;
(3) didn't have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled the severity of any impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, specifically Listings 1.04, 12.04, and 12.06;
(4) had the residual functional capacity to perform a very limited range of sedentary work,  and was unable to perform his past relevant work as a forklift operator;
(5) but could perform other jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy given his age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, including, but not limited to: ampoule sealer (1, 050 jobs in Indiana and 21, 000 nationally), microfilm document preparer (1, 400 jobs in Indiana and 6, 600 jobs nationally), or para-mutual ticket checker (1, 400 jobs in Indiana and 69, 000 jobs nationally). The ALJ therefore concluded that Mr. Olivo was not disabled within the meaning of the Act, and was not entitled to benefits.
When the Appeals Council denied Mr. Olivo's request for review, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security. Jones v. Astrue , 623 F.3d 1155, 1160 (7th Cir. 2010). This appeal followed.
Mr. Olivo contends the ALJ's assessment of his credibility and residual functional capacity aren't supported by substantial evidence, and that his findings at step five are flawed because the jobs identified by the vocational expert don't exist in "significant" numbers, as that term is defined in Beltran v. Astrue , 700 F.3d 386 (9th Cir. 2012). He asks the court to either reverse the Commissioner's decision and award benefits, or remand the case for further proceedings.
I. Standard of Review
The issue before the court isn't whether Mr. Olivo Bush is disabled, but whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ's decision that he is not. Scott v. Astrue , 647 F.3d 734, 739 (7th Cir. 2011); Nelms v. Astrue , 553 F.3d 1093, 1097 (7th Cir. 2009). Substantial evidence means "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales , 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Jones v. Astrue , 623 F.3d 1155, 1160 (7th Cir. 2010). In reviewing the ALJ's decision, the court can't reweigh the evidence, make independent findings of fact, decide credibility, or substitute its own judgment for that of the Commissioner, Simila v. Astrue , 573 F.3d 503, 513 (7th Cir. 2009); Powers v. Apfel , 207 F.3d 431, 434-435 (7th Cir. 2000), but it "will conduct a critical review of the evidence, considering both the evidence that supports, as well as the evidence that detracts from, the Commissioner's decision." Briscoe v. Barnhart , 425 F.3d 345, 351 (7th Cir. 2005). While the ALJ isn't required "to address every piece of ...