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Sneed v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

September 29, 2017

BEVERLY LYN SNEED, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Beverly Lyn Sneed seeks judicial review of the Social Security Commissioner's decision denying her disability benefits, and asks this Court to remand the case. For the reasons below, this Court remands the case.

         A. Overview of the Case

         Plaintiff alleges that she became disabled on November 19, 2010. (R. at 233.) Plaintiff previously worked part-time at a cleaning company and at various Burger King locations. (R. at 602-06.) Plaintiff has not worked since 2008. (R. at 602.) Administrative Law Judge Dennis R. Kramer found that Plaintiff suffered from several severe physical and mental conditions. (R. at 562.) Yet, the ALJ concluded that she could perform some light, unskilled work, so long as interactions with the public were limited and only simple tasks were required. (R. at 575.) Therefore, the ALJ denied her benefits. (R. at 578.) This denial became final when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (R. at 542.)

         B. Standard of Review

         This Court has authority to review the Commissioner's decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Court will ensure that the ALJ 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).

         C. Disability Standard

         The 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. 2012).

         The claimant bears the burden of proof at every step except step five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000).

         D. Analysis

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in finding that she can work. Specifically, she argues that the ALJ: (1) improperly assessed Plaintiff's hand limitations, (2) improperly dismissed the Agency examiner's opinion, (3) improperly discredited Plaintiff's testimony, (4) ignored Plaintiff's anger issues, and (5) ignored Plaintiff's fatigue impairments.

         (1) The ALJ Properly Assessed Plaintiff's ...


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