United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Peter Manjarrez seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Commissioner's decision denying him 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 he became disabled on October 15, 2013. (R. at
17.) Claimant meets insurance requirements through December
31, 2018. (R. at 64.) Plaintiff worked as an equipment
operator in a train yard until 2013, but was injured in
August 2010 in a work-related accident. (R. at 39, 43.)
Following the accident, Mr. Manjarrez was placed on light
duty until his unemployment in October 2013 and required a
double hip replacement as a result of injuries sustained in
the accident. (R. at 44, 47.) After hearing Mr.
Manjarrez's claim for disability on the basis of back
problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, and bipolar
disorder, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
found that Mr. Manjarrez suffered from worsening
musculoskeletal issues which were aggravated by his obesity.
(R. at 24.) The ALJ did, however, find that a number of jobs
existed which the plaintiff could perform. (R. at 26.) As a
result, the ALJ denied the claimant's disability benefit
request on May 3, 2016. (R. at 27.)
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). This requires the ALJ to
“confront the [plaintiff's] evidence” and
“explain why it was rejected.” Thomas v.
Colvin, 826 F.3d 953, 961 (7th Cir. 2016). 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 “a reasonable mind
might accept [it] as adequate to support [the ALJ's]
conclusion.” Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971).
determine eligibility for disability benefits under the
Social Security Act, the ALJ will perform a five-step
“(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
Kastner v. Astrue, 697 F.3d 642, 646 (7th Cir.
burden of proof resides with the claimant for the first four
steps, shifting to the Commissioner for determination of
disability at step five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d
863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000).
claims the ALJ committed four reversible errors: (1) the ALJ
erred in posing a hypothetical to the vocational expert that
did not include a complete and express description of
plaintiff's restrictions in concentration, persistence,
and pace (Pl.'s Br. at 1.); (2) the ALJ failed to
consider the claimant's obesity as an aggravating factor
in his musculoskeletal impairments; (Pl. Br. at 6.); (3) the
ALJ did not accord proper weight to the treating
physician's opinion (Pl.'s Br. at 9.); (4) the ALJ
erred in evaluating the claimant's physical RFC because
additional medical evidence was added to the record after the
state agency medical consultants reviewed the claimant's
medical history. (Pl.'s Br. at 5.). These complaints will
be addressed in order.