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Raddach v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

March 29, 2019

CAROLYN RADDACH, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOSEPH S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Carolyn Raddach 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.

         A. Overview of the Case

          Plaintiff alleges that she became disabled on November 26, 2012. (R. at 41.) Claimant meets insurance requirements through December 31, 2017. (R. at 149.) Before filing for disability, Plaintiff performed work involving data entry and customer service in 2011 and 2012. (R. at 40.) Ms. Ruddach claims she became disabled due to a combination of chronic headaches and back, neck, shoulder, and hip pain. (R. at 44.) The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that Ms. Ruddach was unable to perform her past relevant work (R. at 20.), but that a number of jobs existed in the national and local economy which she could perform. (R. at 21.) As a result, the ALJ denied her disability benefit request on April 29, 2015. (R. at 22.)

         B. Standard of Review

          This 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).

         C. Disability Standard

         To determine eligibility for disability benefits under the Social Security Act, the ALJ will perform a five-step inquiry:

“(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. 2012).

         The 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).

         D. Analysis

         Plaintiff argues that the ALJ committed three reversible errors: (1) the ALJ did not appropriately address her limitations of concentration, persistence, and pace (Pl.'s Br. at 9); (2) the ALJ failed to consider her impairments collectively (Pl. Br. at 10); (3) the ALJ did not sufficiently consider the her self-reported symptoms in evaluating the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects of those symptoms (Pl.'s Br. at 16).

         (1) Concentration, ...


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