United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
DAWN R. KLIMEK Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Dawn R. Klimek 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 affirms the ALJ's decision.
Overview of the Case
alleges that she became disabled on February 1, 2010. (R. at
190.) Plaintiff most recently worked in a factory, but has
not worked since 2010. (R. at 41.) The Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) found that Plaintiff suffered from
two severe conditions. (R. at 16.) However, the ALJ concluded
that, in between her alleged onset date and her date last
insured (“DLI”) of September 30, 2012 (“the
relevant period”), she could have performed past
relevant work as a hand packager. (R. at 25.) The ALJ also
found that she could perform other jobs that existed in
significant numbers. (R. at 26.) Therefore, the ALJ denied
her benefits. (R. at 29.) This decision became final when the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
(R. at 1.)
Standard of Review
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). Evidence is
substantial if it is such “that a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support [the ALJ's]
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971).
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.
claimant bears the burden of proof at every step except step
five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir.
argues that the ALJ erred in finding that she was not
disabled. Specifically, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ
improperly discounted the opinions of treating physicians and
supported her step-three conclusions with only a
“perfunctory analysis.” These errors, Plaintiff
claims, corrupted the ALJ's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”) analysis at step four.
The Commissioner Did Not ...