United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
FRANK D. BROGAN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
Frank Brogan (“Brogan”) requests judicial review
of the final decision of the Deputy Commissioner of
Operations for the Social Security Administration, denying
his applications for Social Security Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the
“Act”). For the following reasons, the Court
AFFIRMS the decision of the Deputy
August 29, 2013, Brogan filed applications for DIB and SSI,
alleging a disability onset date of June 3, 2013. (Filing
No. 13-2 at 16.) His applications were initially denied
on October 21, 2013, (Filing No. 13-4 at 3), and
upon reconsideration on January 28, 2014, (Filing No.
13-4 at 17). Administrative Law Judge Blanca de la Torre
(the “ALJ”) held a hearing on July 8, 2015, at
which Brogan, represented by counsel, and a vocational expert
(“VE”), Dr. George Parsons, appeared and
testified. (Filing No. 13-2 at 38-72.) The ALJ
issued a decision on September 23, 2015, concluding that
Brogan was not entitled to receive DIB or SSI. (Filing
No. 13-2 at 13.) The Appeals Council denied review on
February 14, 2017. (Filing No. 13-2 at 2.) On March
20, 2017, Brogan timely filed this civil action, asking the
court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 42 U.S.C.
§ 1383(c) to review the final decision of the Deputy
Commissioner denying Brogan benefits. (Filing No.
1.) For the following reasons, the Court
AFFIRMS the decision of the Deputy
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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
ARE THE PARAGRAPHS YOU TYPICALLY USE: Under the Act, a
claimant may be entitled to DIB or SSI only after he
establishes that he is disabled. Disability is defined as the
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A). In order to be found disabled, a claimant must
demonstrate that his physical or mental limitations prevent
him from doing not only his previous work but any other kind
of gainful employment which exists in the national economy,
considering his age, education, and work experience. 42
U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).
Commissioner employs a five-step sequential analysis to
determine whether a claimant is disabled. At step one, if the
claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity, he is
not disabled despite his medical condition and other factors.
20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(i). At step two, if the
claimant does not have a “severe” impairment that
meets the durational requirement, he is not disabled. 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(ii). A severe impairment is one
that “significantly limits [a claimant's] physical
or mental ability to do basic work activities.” 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(c). At step three, the Commissioner
determines whether the claimant's impairment or
combination of impairments meets or medically equals any
impairment that appears in the Listing of Impairments, 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, and whether the
impairment meets the twelve month duration requirement; if
so, the claimant is deemed disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
claimant's impairments do not meet or medically equal one
of the impairments on the Listing of Impairments, then his
residual functional capacity will be assessed and used for
the fourth and fifth steps. Residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) is the “maximum that a claimant can
still do despite his mental and physical limitations.”
Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668, 675-76 (7th Cir.
2008) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1); SSR 96-8p). At
step four, if the claimant is able to perform his past
relevant work, he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
416.920(a)(4)(iv). At the fifth and final step, it must be
determined whether the claimant can perform any other work in
the relevant economy, given his RFC and considering his age,
education, and past work experience. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(v). The claimant is not disabled if he can
perform any other work in the relevant economy.
combined effect of all the impairments of the claimant shall
be considered throughout the disability determination
process. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(B). The burden of proof
is on the claimant for the first four steps; it then shifts
to the Commissioner for the fifth step. Young v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 957 F.2d 386,
389 (7th Cir. 1992).
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 (7thCir. 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 omitted).
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