United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Sarah G. 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 Administrative Law Judge's
Overview of the Case
Plaintiff applied for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI. In her
application, Plaintiff alleged that she became disabled on
May 25, 2015. (R. at 24.) After a hearing in 2017, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that
Plaintiff suffered from the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, with
radiculopathy; left shoulder rotator cuff tear, status post
repair; and carpal tunnel syndrome (“CTS”). (R.
at 26.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff is capable of performing
past relevant work as a restaurant manager. (R. at 32.)
Therefore, the ALJ found her to be not disabled. (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:
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.
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.
contends that the ALJ committed three reversible errors: the
ALJ erred in weighing medical opinions, the ALJ's RFC
determination was not supported by substantial evidence, and
the ALJ erred in analyzing Plaintiff's subjective
argues that the ALJ erred in weighing the opinions of her
treating physicians and the state agency doctors. A treating
physician's opinion is to be given controlling weight
because of the length and nature of the relationship unless
the ALJ provides good reasons for setting aside that opinion.
Brown v. Colvin, 845 F.3d 247, 252 (7th Cir. 2016).
When a treating physician's opinion is not entitled to
controlling weight, an ALJ must weigh it using such factors
such as: the examining relationship; the length of the
treatment relationship and the frequency of examination; ...