United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
KENNETH E. HOLLOWAY, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ENTRY REVIEWING THE COMMISSIONER'S
Jane Magnus-Stinson, Chief Judge
7, 2008, Kenneth E. Holloway filed a claim for disability
insurance benefits alleging an onset date of June 15, 2007.
[Filing No. 47-8 at 123.] His claim was initially
denied on September 9, 2008, and upon reconsideration on
February 26, 2009. [Filing No. 47 at 16.]
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Ann
Rybolt held a hearing on September 29, 2010, and issued a
decision on November 17, 2010, finding Mr. Holloway has been
disabled since February 1, 2009. [Filing No. 47-8 at
123.] Mr. Holloway appealed the decision, and the
Appeals Council upheld the decision. [Filing No. 47-8 at
123.] Mr. Holloway then appealed to the district court,
and on November 27, 2012, the district court issued a remand,
noting that part of the hearing recording was missing.
[Filing No. 25.] The Appeals Council issued an order
on October 17, 2013, affirming the ALJ's conclusion that
Mr. Holloway has been disabled since February 1, 2009, and
vacating the ALJ's decision with respect to the issue of
disability for the period of time before the established
onset date of February 1, 2009. [Filing No. 47-8 at
case was assigned to a new ALJ, but he was reassigned to
other duties and unable to render a decision. [Filing No.
47-8 at 123.] The case was then reassigned to ALJ Albert
J. Velasquez, who held a hearing on April 14, 2015, and
rendered a decision on June 9, 2015, concluding that Mr.
Holloway was not disabled before the established onset date
of February 1, 2009. [Filing No. 47-8 at 123-36.]
The Appeals Council denied review on January 19, 2016,
[Filing No. 47-8 at 112], making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final decision subject to
judicial review, [Filing No. 47-8 at 123-36]. Mr.
Holloway filed a petition to reopen the case pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), asking this Court to review his denial
of benefits. [Filing No. 36.]
“The Social Security Act authorizes payment of
disability insurance benefits and Supplemental Security
Income to individuals with disabilities.” Barnhart
v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212, 214 (2002). “The
statutory definition of ‘disability' has two parts.
First, it requires a certain kind of inability, namely, an
inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity.
Second it requires an impairment, namely, a physical or
mental impairment, which provides reason for the inability.
The statute adds that the impairment must be one that has
lasted or can be expected to last . . . not less than 12
months.” Id. at 217.
applicant appeals an adverse benefits decision, this
Court's role is limited to ensuring that the ALJ applied
the correct legal standards and that substantial evidence
exists to support the ALJ's decision. Barnett v.
Barnhart, 381 F.3d 664, 668 (7th Cir. 2004) (citation
omitted). For the purpose of judicial review,
“[s]ubstantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted). Because
the ALJ “is in the best position to determine the
credibility of witnesses, ” Craft v. Astrue,
539 F.3d 668, 678 (7th Cir. 2008), this Court must afford the
ALJ's credibility determination “considerable
deference, ” overturning it only if it is
“patently wrong, ” Prochaska v.
Barnhart, 454 F.3d 731, 738 (7th Cir. 2006) (quotations
must apply the five-step inquiry set forth in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v), evaluating the following, in
(1) whether the claimant is currently [un]employed; (2)
whether the claimant has a severe impairment; (3) whether the
claimant's impairment meets or equals one of the
impairments listed by the [Commissioner]; (4) whether the
claimant can perform [his] past work; and (5) whether the
claimant is capable of performing work in the national
Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000)
(citations omitted) (alterations in original). “If a
claimant satisfies steps one, two, and three, [he] will
automatically be found disabled. If a claimant satisfies
steps one and two, but not three, then [he] must satisfy step
four. Once step four is satisfied, the burden shifts to the
SSA to establish that the claimant is capable of performing
work in the national economy.” Knight v.
Chater, 55 F.3d 309, 313 (7th Cir. 1995).
Step Three, but before Step Four, the ALJ must determine a
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) by evaluating “all
limitations that arise from medically determinable
impairments, even those that are not severe.”
Villano v. Astrue, 556 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir.
2009). In doing so, the ALJ “may not dismiss a line of
evidence contrary to the ruling.” Id.The ALJ
uses the RFC at Step Four to determine whether the claimant
can perform his own past relevant work and if not, at Step
Five to determine whether the claimant can perform other
work. See20 C.F.R. § 416.920(e), (g). The
burden of proof is on the claimant for Steps One through
Four; only at Step Five does the burden shift to the
Commissioner. Clifford, 227 F.3d at 868.
ALJ committed no legal error and substantial evidence exists
to support the ALJ's decision, the Court must affirm the
denial of benefits. Barnett, 381 F.3d at 668. When
an ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial
evidence, a remand for further proceedings is typically the
appropriate remedy. Briscoe ex rel. Taylor v.
Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 355 (7th Cir. 2005). An award of
benefits “is appropriate only where all factual issues
have been resolved and the record can yield but one
supportable conclusion.” Id. (citation