United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
LINDA L. BOWERS, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE
Linda L. Bowers (“Bowers”) requests judicial
review of the final decision of the 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”). For
the following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the
April 25, 2012, Bowers filed an application for SSI, alleging
a disability onset date of January 1, 2008, due to major
depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”), schizophrenia, psychotic disorder, and
osteoporosis. (Filing No. 13-2 at 23.) Her claims
were initially denied on August 8, 2012, and again on
reconsideration. Bowers timely filed a written request for a
hearing and on April 9, 2014, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge John H. Metz (the
“ALJ”). Bowers was present and represented by
counsel. A medical expert, Don A. Olive, Ph.D. (“Dr.
Olive”), and a vocational expert, Ray O. Burger (the
“VE”), appeared and testified at the hearing.
Id. On May 1, 2014, the ALJ denied Bowers'
application for SSI. Id. Following this decision,
Bowers requested review by the Appeals Council and on August
18, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Bowers' request for
review of the ALJ's decision, thereby making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner for
purposes of judicial review. Id. at 2-4. On October
12, 2015, Bowers filed this action for judicial review of the
ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
and 1383(c)(3). (Filing No. 1.)
time of her January 2008 alleged disability onset date,
Bowers was forty-two years old. She was forty-six years old
at the time she filed an application for SSI. (Filing No.
13-2 at 47: Filing No. 16 at 3.) Bowers has a
ninth grade education and attended regular classes.
(Filing No. 13-2 at 48-49.) Prior to the onset of
her alleged disability, Bowers had three short-term jobs. For
approximately three months, January to April 1995, she
prepped food at a fast food restaurant. Id. at 51.
Bowers stopped working at the fast food restaurant because it
was too stressful. Id. For approximately two months
in 2005, she worked as a deli clerk in a grocery store.
Id. at 51-52. Bowers quit her job as a deli clerk
because it was also too stressful. Id. at 52. She
most recently worked as a cashier in a convenience store for
about two months in 2007. Id. Bowers was fired from
the convenience store because she missed several days of work
after becoming sick due to a switch in her medication.
Id. at 53. Bowers has not worked since June of 2007.
has a history of four in-patient psychiatric
hospitalizations. Id. at 30. She was first referred
by Middletown Center staff for psychiatric in-patient care in
January 1997. (Filing No. 13-10 at 6-7.) Bowers
suffered from possible withdrawal symptoms from Xanax and was
diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Id. at
7-8. In July 2000, Bowers was admitted to the psychiatric
unit on an emergency detention status by police officers
after she was aggressive toward her husband. Id. at
16. The police officers reported that Bowers' speech was
rambling and she refused to follow their directions.
Id. She was diagnosed with major depressive
disorder, recurrent, severe without psychosis; history of
marijuana abuse; and relationship problems. Id. at
October 2001, Bowers was again admitted to a hospital on an
emergency detention after she made suicidal threats and
aggressive threats toward her husband. Id. Bowers
was described as being confused, disoriented, talking to the
television, talking to her deceased mother, and clapping her
hands in a strange manner. Id. Upon discharge,
Bowers was diagnosed with unspecific psychosis. Id.
was last hospitalized in June 2007 when she was admitted on
an emergency detention order filed by police officers after
they were notified of Bowers' strange behavior.
(Filing No. 13-9 at 95.) When police officers
arrived, Bowers accused them of raping her. Id.
Bowers thought that the officers were going to kill her with
their guns and thought that there were guns hidden in various
places of her apartment. Id. Bowers reported that
“a presence was all around.” Id. During
admission, Bowers denied, and did not exhibit, depression,
anxiety, suicidal or homicidal ideation. Id. Upon
discharge, she was diagnosed with schizophrenia and nicotine
abuse. Id. at 96. Bowers was treated with Haldol, an
antipsychotic medication, and Ativan, which resolved her
psychosis. Id. at 95.
August 2007, Bowers began treatment with Meridian Services.
(Filing No. 13-10 at 134.) She was prescribed Invega
6 mg. Id. at 108. Since November 2007, Bowers has
remained stable, with a normal mental status, while taking
Invega. In June 2008, Bowers stated that her mood swings were
in complete control and she denied having problems with
hallucinations or paranoia. Id. at 106. Throughout
the years, Bowers reported that she felt well and Invega was
very helpful. Id. at 75, 114, 124, 128, 131, 133.
October 2009, Bowers went to Meridian Services for a
medication review. Id. at 131. During that visit,
she denied having any hallucinations or suicidal or homicidal
thoughts. Id. at 132. The clinician noted that
Bowers was stable and responding well to Invega. Id.
at 133. One year later, in October 2010, Bowers again denied
having hallucinations or any suicidal or homicidal thoughts
and that her only side effect was slight weight gain.
Id. at 83. Bowers was diagnosed with
manic-depressive disorder, PTSD, and cannabis dependence.
Id. In March 2012, Bowers reported that she had been
stable for the past five to six years while taking Invega.
(Filing No. 13-2 at 32.)
6, 2012, Bowers met with Ceola Berry, Ph.D., HSSP (“Dr.
Berry”), upon referral by the disability determination
office for a consultative mental status examination.
(Filing No. 13-7 at 27.) Bowers reported that she
was diagnosed in 1986 with “clinical major depression,
” and in 2007 with bipolar disorder. Id. She
stated that her son and her boyfriend resided with her.
Id. She reported that she is able to dress, bathe
and groom herself independently, but she usually does not.
Id. at 28. Bowers' boyfriend explained that he
completes most of the household activities of daily living.
Id. Bowers reported that her typical day consists of
waking up at 11:00 a.m., watching television, visiting her
grandson who does not reside with her, and going to bed at
10:00 p.m. Id. She admitted that she smokes one pack
of cigarettes a day and consumes an excessive amount of sugar
and caffeine and reported that she has adequate relationships
with family and friends. Id.
reported to Dr. Berry that she has not sought employment,
because she has been trying to receive disability income.
Id. Bowers also reported that her depression was
unsuccessfully mediated by her psychotropic protocol.
Id. at 28. However, when asked whether she informed
her physician about the inefficiency, Bowers evaded the
question and was unable to recall her most recent appointment
for refill of her Invega. Id. at 27. Dr. Berry noted
that Bowers' mental status examination did not reveal any
significant problems with concentration, short-term memory,
mental calculation, abstracting ability or general knowledge.
Id. at 28-29. Dr. ...