United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Lawrence H. seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Commissioner's decision denying his disability benefits
and asks this Court to remand the case. For the reasons
below, this Court affirms the Administrative Law Judge's
Overview of the Case
applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II. In
his application, Plaintiff alleged that he became disabled on
November 15, 2013. (R. at 15.) After a video hearing in 2017,
the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that
Plaintiff suffered from the severe impairments of cervical
degenerative disc disease status-post fusion, cervicogenic
headaches, bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, and lumbar
degenerative disc disease. (R. at 17.) The ALJ found that
Plaintiff could not perform past relevant work. (R. at 26.)
The ALJ did, however, find that a number of jobs existed
which Plaintiff could perform. (R. at 26-27.) Therefore, the
ALJ found him to be not disabled. (R. at 27.) 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 four reversible errors. He
asserts that the ALJ erred in finding Plaintiff's mental
impairments to be non-severe, in failing to accommodate
Plaintiff's mental limitations in the RFC, in the
subjective symptom analysis, and in weighing medical opinion
claims that the ALJ erred because he did not classify
Plaintiff's mental impairments as severe. Specifically,
Plaintiff refers to his ...