United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.
Plaintiff Kasey Kaylor requests judicial review of the final decision of the Defendant, Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("the Commissioner"), denying her application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("the Act"). The Court, having reviewed the record and the briefs of the parties, rules as follows.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Kasey Kaylor protectively filed for SSI on October 20, 2010, alleging she became disabled on June 1, 2001, due to ankle problems, Hepatitis C, bilateral knee pain, back pain, back strain, chronic lower back pain, hip pain, wrist pain, restless legs, disc bulge, trichomonas, psoriasis, and obesity. Her application was denied initially on January 20, 2011, and again upon reconsideration on March 1, 2011. Following the denial upon reconsideration, Ms. Kaylor requested and received a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). A video hearing, during which Ms. Kaylor was represented by counsel, was held before ALJ Steven Templin on February 3, 2012. The ALJ issued his decision denying Ms. Kaylor's application on June 19, 2012, and the Appeals Council denied Ms. Kaylor's request for review on July 24, 2013. After the Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision, Ms. Kaylor filed this timely appeal.
II. APPLICABLE STANDARD
Disability is defined as "the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable mental or physical impairment which can be expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). In order to be found disabled, a claimant must demonstrate that her physical or mental limitations prevent her from doing not only her previous work, but any other kind of gainful employment which exists in the national economy, considering her age, education, and work experience. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).
In determining whether a claimant is disabled, the Commissioner employs a five-step sequential analysis. At step one, if the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity she is not disabled, despite her medical condition and other factors. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(i). At step two, if the claimant does not have a "severe" impairment (i.e., one that significantly limits her ability to perform basic work activities), she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(ii). At step three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant's impairment or combination of impairments meets or medically equals any impairment that appears in the Listing of Impairments, 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P. App. 1, and whether the impairment meets the twelve-month duration requirement; if so, the claimant is deemed disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(iii). At step four, if the claimant is able to perform her past relevant work, she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(iv). At step five, if the claimant can perform any other work in the national economy, she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(v).
In reviewing the ALJ's decision, the ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive and must be upheld by this court "so long as substantial evidence supports them and no error of law occurred." Dixon v. Massanari, 270 F.3d 1171, 1176 (7th Cir. 2001). "Substantial evidence means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion, " id., and this Court may not reweigh the evidence or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ. Overman v. Astrue, 546 F.3d 456, 462 (7th Cir. 2008). The ALJ is required to articulate only a minimal, but legitimate, justification for his acceptance or rejection of specific evidence of disability. Scheck v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 697, 700 (7th Cir. 2004). In order to be affirmed, the ALJ must articulate his analysis of the evidence in his decision; while he "is not required to address every piece of evidence or testimony, " he must "provide some glimpse into his reasoning... [and] build an accurate and logical bridge from the evidence to his conclusion." Dixon, 270 F.3d at 1176.
The evidence of record is aptly set forth in the parties' briefs and need not be recited here. Specific facts are set forth in the discussion section below where relevant.
IV. THE ALJ'S DECISION
The ALJ determined at step one that Ms. Kaylor had not engaged in substantial gainful activity at any time material to his decision. At step two, the ALJ concluded that the evidence did not establish that Ms. Kaylor had at least one medically determinable, severe impairment, or its equal. Thus, the ALJ determined that Ms. Kaylor was not disabled.
In her brief in support of her Complaint, Ms. Kaylor only advances one argument. She argues that the ALJ erred in finding ...