United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
STEPHANIE D. WEST, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge
matter is before the court for judicial review of a final
decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security
Administration denying Plaintiff's application for Child
Disability Benefits (CDB) and Supplemental Security Income
(SSI) as provided for in the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C.
§ 423(d); 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(3). Section 205(g) of
the Act provides, inter alia, "[a]s part of his answer,
the [Commissioner] shall file a certified copy of the
transcript of the record including the evidence upon which
the findings and decision complained of are based. The court
shall have the power to enter, upon the pleadings and
transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or
reversing the decision of the [Commissioner], with or without
remanding the case for a rehearing." It also provides,
"[t]he findings of the [Commissioner] as to any fact, if
supported by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive. . .
." 42 U.S.C. §405(g).
provides that an applicant for disability insurance benefits
must establish an "inability to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be
expected to last for a continuous period of no less than 12
months. . . ." 42 U.S.C. §416(i)(1); 42 U.S.C.
§423(d)(1)(A). A physical or mental impairment is
"an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. §423(d)(3). It is
not enough for a plaintiff to establish that an impairment
exists. It must be shown that the impairment is severe enough
to preclude the plaintiff from engaging in substantial
gainful activity. Gotshaw v. Ribicoff, 307 F.2d 840
(7th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 945 (1963);
Garcia v. Califano, 463 F.Supp. 1098 (N.D.Ill.
1979). It is well established that the burden of proving
entitlement to disability insurance benefits is on the
plaintiff. See Jeralds v. Richardson, 445 F.2d 36
(7th Cir. 1971); Kutchman v. Cohen, 425 F.2d 20 (7th
the foregoing framework, "[t]he question before [this
court] is whether the record as a whole contains substantial
evidence to support the [Commissioner's] findings."
Garfield v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
1984) citing Whitney v. Schweiker, 695 F.2d 784, 786
(7th Cir. 1982); 42 U.S.C. §405(g). "Substantial
evidence is defined as 'more than a mere scintilla. It
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'"
Rhoderick v. Heckler, 737 F.2d 714, 715 (7th Cir.
1984) quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
401, 91 S.Ct. 1410, 1427 (1971); see Allen v.
Weinberger, 552 F.2d 781, 784 (7th Cir. 1977). "If
the record contains such support [it] must [be] affirmed, 42
U.S.C. §405(g), unless there has been an error of
law." Garfield, supra at 607; see
also Schnoll v. Harris, 636 F.2d 1146, 1150 (7th Cir.
present matter, after consideration of the entire record, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) made the
1. Born on November 2, 1991, the claimant had not attained
age 22 as of January 17, 2006, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.102, 416.120(c)(4) and 404.350(a)(5). She was unmarried
until February 14, 2105.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since January 17, 2006, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: chronic
back pain due to lumbar facet arthropathy sacroiliitis
(Exhibits 2F; 11F; 12F); history of migraine headaches
(Exhibits 1F; 2F; 5F; 8F; 13F; 14F; 15F); history of chronic
abdominal pain due to irritable bowel syndrome (Exhibits 2F;
5F; 7F; 13F); asthma (Exhibits 14F; 15F); obesity (Exhibit
2F); bipolar disorder (Exhibits 2F; 4F); anxiety (Exhibits
2F; 4F; 13F); attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
(ADHD)(Exhibit 2F); and borderline intellectual functioning
(Exhibit 4F)(20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 2 CFR
404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) but with further restrictions as
follows: The claimant needs the option to sit and stand,
which allows for alternating between sitting and standing up
to every 30 minutes, if needed, while the positional change
not render the individual off task. Climbing of ramps/stairs,
balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling, are
limited to an occasional basis, but the claimant can never
climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. The claimant also needs to
avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, heat, humidity,
loud noise, bright flashing lights, pulmonary irritants (i.e.
fumes, odors, dust, gases, poorly ventilated areas, and
chemicals), and hazards (i.e. operational control of
dangerous moving machinery, unprotected heights, and slippery
uneven moving surfaces). Mentally, the claimant cannot
understand, remember, or carry out detailed or complex job
instructions, but remains capable of performing simple,
repetitive tasks on a sustained basis (meaning eight hours a
day/five days a week, or an equivalent work schedule).
Finally, the claimant cannot engage in fast-paced work or
work requiring a regimented pace of production, but rather is
limited to work at a flexible pace (i.e. where there is
allowance of some independence in determining either the
timing of different work activities, or pace of work).
6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565
7. The claimant was born on November 2, 1991, and was 14
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR ...