United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
CHRISTINA M. SEABOLT, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Rodovich United States Magistrate Judge
matter is before the court on petition for judicial review of
the decision of the Commissioner filed by the plaintiff,
Christina M. Seabolt, on September 7, 2017. For the following
reasons, the decision of the Commissioner is
plaintiff, Christina M. Seabolt, filed an application for
Disability Insurance Benefits on June 28, 2014, alleging a
disability onset date of April 1, 2013. (Tr. 20). The
Disability Determination Bureau denied Seabolt's
application on September 29, 2014, and again upon
reconsideration on November 17, 2014. (Tr. 20). Seabolt
subsequently filed a timely request for a hearing on December
3, 2014. (Tr. 20). A video hearing was held on July 28, 2016,
before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Matthew Johnson, and
the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 31, 2016.
(Tr. 20-32). Vocational Expert (VE) Clifford M. Brady
testified at the hearing. (Tr. 20). The Appeals Council
denied review, making the ALJ's decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3).
met the insured status requirements of the Social Security
Act through June 30, 2019. (Tr. 22). At step one of the
five-step sequential analysis for determining whether an
individual is disabled, the ALJ found that Seabolt had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 1, 2013,
the alleged onset date. (Tr. 22).
two, the ALJ determined that Seabolt had the following severe
impairments: depression, anxiety, and panic disorder with
agoraphobia. (Tr. 22). The ALJ indicated that Seabolt also
was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD),
back pain, and obesity. (Tr. 22). However, the physical exams
in the record showed no abnormalities other than her obesity.
(Tr. 22). Therefore, the ALJ found that Seabolt's back
pain, obesity, and GERD were non-severe impairments. (Tr.
three, the ALJ concluded that Seabolt did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
(Tr. 23). The ALJ considered Seabolt's mental
impairments, singly and in combination, against the criteria
set forth in Listings 12.04 and 12.06. The ALJ considered the
paragraph B criteria for mental impairments, which required
at least two of the following:
marked restriction of activities of daily living; marked
difficulties in maintaining social functioning; marked
difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or
pace; or repeated episodes of decompensation, each of
(Tr. 23). The ALJ defined a marked limitation as more than
moderate but less than extreme and repeated episodes of
decompensation, each of extended duration, as three episodes
within one year or once every four months with each episode
lasting at least two weeks. (Tr. 23).
determined that Seabolt had a mild restriction in activities
of daily living. (Tr. 23). Seabolt reported that she cared
for her three children, she cared for her own personal
hygiene, and she prepared basic meals. (Tr. 23). However, she
needed reminders to take her medication at night. (Tr. 23).
found that Seabolt had moderate difficulties in social
functioning. (Tr. 23). Seabolt indicated that she had
increased anxiety when she was in public and that she needed
her husband to go to the grocery store. (Tr. 23). However,
the ALJ noted that Seabolt testified that she went to the
gym, took her children to the pool, and regularly attended
therapy sessions and appointments with her psychiatrist. (Tr.
23). Also, the ALJ noted that Seabolt did not have any
problems getting along with family, friends, or neighbors.
determined that Seabolt had moderate difficulties with
concentration, persistence, or pace. (Tr. 23). Seabolt
indicated that her ability to maintain attention and
concentration was severely limited, yet the ALJ noted that
the treatment notes provided by Seabolt's psychiatrist,
Dr. Mario Robbins, indicated that her mental status exams
showed her concentration level was good. (Tr. 23). Also, the
ALJ found that Seabolt did not experience any episodes of
decompensation which would have been of extended duration.
(Tr. 24). Because Seabolt's limitations did not cause at
least two “marked” limitations or one
“marked” limitation and “repeated”
episodes of decompensation which had been of extended
duration, the ALJ found that the paragraph B criteria was not
satisfied. (Tr. 24). Additionally, the ALJ found that the
paragraph C criteria was not satisfied. (Tr. 24).
consideration of the entire record, the ALJ then assessed
Seabolt's residual functional capacity (RFC) as follows:
[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant
can understand, carry out, remember and perform simple,
routine tasks that involve simple work-related decisions. She
has the ability to adapt to only routine workplace changes.
The claimant can ...