United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Barbra Jean Nagy 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 remands the Administrative Law Judge's
Overview of the Case
application, Plaintiff alleged that she became disabled on
October 1, 2008. (R. at 23.) At a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) in 2017,
Plaintiff amended her alleged onset date of disability to
August 1, 2013. After the hearing, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff suffered from the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease throughout the spine; L3
vertebroplasty and lumbar fusion surgeries; status post
spinal cord stimulator implantation tension
headaches/migraines; stress induced seizures; affective
disorder; anxiety disorder and borderline personality
disorder. (R. at 25.) The ALJ did, however, find that a
number of jobs existed which Plaintiff could perform. (R. at
33.) Therefore, the ALJ found her to be not disabled since
June 13, 2014, the date the application was filed. (R. at
34.) 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). 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, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (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.
2012). The claimant bears the burden of proof at every step
except step five. Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863,
868 (7th Cir. 2000).
contends that the ALJ committed three reversible errors: the
ALJ erred in failing to consider the combined impact of all
Plaintiff's impairments in the RFC; the ALJ improperly
evaluated Plaintiff's subjective symptoms; and the ALJ
cherry picked evidence that supported his conclusion while
ignoring other relevant evidence.
asserts that the ALJ erred in the subjective symptom
analysis. An ALJ's subjective symptom analysis will be
afforded “considerable deference” and will be
overturned only if it is “patently wrong.”
Prochaska v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 731, 738 (7th Cir.
2006) (citations omitted). In addressing Plaintiff's
subjective symptoms, the ALJ must consider all the evidence