United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Wade Hopkins 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 remands the ALJ's decision.
Overview of the Case
Plaintiff states that he became disabled on March 1, 2013.
(R. at 40.) Plaintiff worked as a cost accountant from
January 1991 until he was laid off in October 2009 and has
not worked since. (R. at 42, 228.) Mr. Hopkins filed a claim
for disability on the basis of depression, hypertension,
obesity, and degenerative disc disease. After hearing the
evidence, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
found that Mr. Hopkins had a sufficient residual functional
capacity to perform his past relevant work. (R. at 31.) After
finding at step four of the analysis that Mr. Hopkins could
perform past relevant work, the ALJ denied the claimant's
disability benefit request. (R. at 32.)
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).
committed three reversible errors: (1) the ALJ improperly
cites Plaintiff's lack of compliance with a treatment
regimen without exploring reasons for Plaintiff's
non-compliance (Pl.'s Br. at 18.); (2) the ALJ did not
sufficiently support the weight accorded to Plaintiff's
mother's Third Party Function Report; (Pl. Br. at 18.);
and (3) the ALJ did not sufficiently develop the evidence
that plaintiff could perform past relevant work. (Pl.'s
Br. at 9.).
Failure to follow ...