United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
SASHA M. JONES, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Sasha Jones seeks judicial review of the Acting Social
Security Commissioner's decision denying her
supplementary security income benefits. For the reasons set
forth below, the Court affirms in part, vacates in part, and
remands for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
Overview of the Case
received supplemental security income benefits as a child due
to disability. In accordance with 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(H)(iii), her eligibility for benefits was
redetermined under adult disability standards upon turning
eighteen. This redetermination concluded Plaintiff was not
disabled and thus ineligible for continued supplemental
security income benefits. After a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), Plaintiff was again found not
disabled. The Appeals Council denied her request for review,
rendering the denial final agency action for purposes of
judicial review. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Plaintiff requests this
Court to review the denial.
Standard of Review
Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Court must ensure that the
ALJ has built an “accurate and logical bridge”
from evidence to conclusion. Thomas v. Colvin, 745
F.3d 802, 806 (7th Cir. 2014). The Court will uphold
decisions that apply the correct legal standard and are
supported by substantial evidence. Briscoe ex rel. Taylor
v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 351 (7th Cir. 2005).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668,
673 (7th Cir. 2008).
Commissioner follows a five-step inquiry in evaluating claims
for disability benefits under the Social Security Act:
(1) whether the claimant is currently employed; (2) whether
the claimant has a severe impairment; (3) whether the
claimant's impairment is one that the Commissioner
considers conclusively disabling; (4) if the claimant does
not have a conclusively disabling impairment, whether he can
perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the claimant
is capable of performing any work in the national economy.
Kastner v. Astrue, 697 F.3d 642, 646 (7th Cir.
claimant bears the burden of proof at every step except step
five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir.
claims the ALJ erred in (1) considering limitations related
to maintaining concentration, persistence, and pace; (2)
determining that her back impairment was non-severe or,
alternatively, that he failed to properly consider her back
limitations; and (3) failing to address her headaches