United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CALVIN D. YEAKEY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ENTRY REVIEWING THE COMMISSIONER'S
JANE MAGNUS-STINSON, CHIEF JUDGE
Calvin Yeakey applied for disability insurance benefits from
the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) on January 4, 2013, alleging an
onset date of December 31, 2002. [Filing No. 11-6 at
2.] His application was initially denied on February 5,
2013, [Filing No. 11-4 at 2], and upon
reconsideration on March 12, 2013, [Filing No. 11-4 at
8]. Administrative Law Judge Blanca B. de la Torre (the
“ALJ”) held a hearing on October 22,
2014, [Filing No. 11-2 at 65-96], and held a
supplemental hearing on July 6, 2015, [Filing No. 11-2 at
38-62]. The ALJ issued a decision on July 22, 2015,
concluding that Mr. Yeakey was not entitled to receive
disability insurance benefits. [Filing No. 11-2 at
12.] The Appeals Council denied review on January 13,
2017. [Filing No. 11-2 at 2-7.] On February 21,
2017, Mr. Yeakey timely filed this civil action, asking the
Court to review the denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) and 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c). [Filing No.
Social Security Act authorizes payment of disability
insurance benefits . . . 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
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 for 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. See 20 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
Yeakey was fifty years old when he filed for disability
insurance benefits. [Filing No. 11-6 at
2.] Before undertaking the five-step
sequential evaluation set forth by the SSA in 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a)(4), the ALJ found that Mr. Yeakery
“last met the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act on December 31, 2007.” [Filing No.
11-2 at 17.] Accordingly, for the period of time under
consideration by the ALJ, Mr. Yeakey was under the age of
fifty. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1563(c).
conducting the five-step sequential evaluation, the ALJ
issued an opinion on July 22, 2015, determining that Mr.
Yeakey was not entitled to receive disability insurance