United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
EVANS BARKER, JUDGE
Kristie C. (“Kristie”) has appealed the final
decision of the Commissioner (“Commissioner”) of
the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
denying her February 25, 2015, application for disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”). R. (Dkt. 7) at 10.
The application was initially denied on May 4, 2015, R. at
87, and upon reconsideration on July 16, 2015. R. at 97. The
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) conducted a
hearing on May 26, 2017, R. at 37, resulting in a decision on
September 13, 2017, ruling that Kristie was not disabled and
thus not entitled to receive DIB. R. at 7. The Appeals
Council denied review on June 18, 2018, and the
Commissioner's decision became final. R. at 1. On August
13, 2018, Kristie timely filed this civil action seeking
judicial review of the decision, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Dkt. 1.
reasons below, the decision is reversed and the case remanded
for action consistent with this order.
followed the five-step sequential evaluation set forth by the
SSA, see 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i) to (v),
in concluding that Kristie was not disabled. Specifically,
the ALJ found as follows:
• Kristie last met the insured status requirements for
DIB on December 31, 2016 (the date last insured or
“DLI”). R. at 12.
• At Step One, Kristie had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged onset date of
• At Step Two, she had the following severe impairments:
“fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, morbid obesity,
depression, and anxiety.” Id. (citation
• At Step Three, she did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the
severity of one of the listed impairments. R. at 13.
• After Step Three but before Step Four, Kristie had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) “to
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
she would have been unable to climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds and she would have been unable to crawl. She would
have been able to occasionally climb ramps and stairs,
balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch. She would have needed to
have no more than occasional exposure to workplace hazards
such as unprotected heights and dangerous machinery. She
would have been able to perform understand, remember, and
carry out simple instructions, she would have been able to
respond appropriately to supervision and coworkers in usual
work situations, should would [sic] have been able to deal
with changes in a routine work setting.” R. at 14.
• At Step Four, relying on the testimony of the
vocational expert (“VE”) and considering
Kristie's RFC, she was incapable of performing any of her
past relevant work. R. at 18.
• At Step Five, relying on the testimony of the VE and
in light of Kristie's age (45 years of age on the DLI),
education (at least a high school graduate), and RFC, there
were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national
economy that she could have performed, including
representative occupations such as a cashier, merchandise
marker, and router. R. at 18-19.
review of the Commissioner's decision,
[w]e will uphold [it] if it applies the correct legal
standard and is supported by substantial evidence.
Castile v. Astrue, 617 F.3d 923, 926 (7th Cir.
2010). Substantial evidence is “‘such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Id. (quoting
Skinner v. Astrue, 478 F.3d 836, 841 (7th Cir.
2007)). A decision denying benefits need not discuss every
piece of evidence, but if it lacks an adequate discussion of
the issues, it will be remanded. Villano v. Astrue,
556 F.3d 558, 562 (7th Cir. 2009). Our review is limited to
the reasons articulated by the ALJ in his decision.
Larson v. Astrue, 615 F.3d 744, 749 (7th Cir. 2010).
Campbell v. Astrue, 627 F.3d 299, 306 (7th Cir.
2010). In determining whether the decision was properly
supported, we neither reweigh the evidence nor assess the
credibility of witness, nor substitute our judgment for the
Commissioner's. Lopez ex rel. ...