United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
HORTANSIA L. Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN, JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Hortansia L. 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
OF THE CASE
applied for disability insurance benefits under Titles II and
XVI. In her application, Plaintiff alleged that she became
disabled on December 14, 2009. (R. at 24.) After a hearing in
2015, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that Plaintiff
suffered from the severe impairments of fibromyalgia,
obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD),
asthma, bipolar I disorder, depression, mood disorder,
anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and attention
deficit disorder. (R. at 26.) The ALJ found that Plaintiff is
unable to perform any past relevant work. (R. at 36.) The ALJ
did, however, find that a number of jobs existed which
Plaintiff could perform. (R. at 36-37.) Therefore, the ALJ
found her to be not disabled from December 14, 2009, the
alleged onset date. (R at 37.) Judge Theresa Springmann
remanded the decision on November 29, 2017. (R. at 796.) The
Court instructed the ALJ to explore the reasons behind
Plaintiff's perceived lack of medical treatment on
remand. (R. at 794.)
second hearing was held in September 2018. After the 2018
hearing, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffered from the
severe impairments of fibromyalgia, myalgias/arthralgias,
obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma,
bipolar I disorder, depressive disorder, mood disorder,
anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder,
posttraumatic stress disorder, and attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). (R. at 667.) The ALJ found
that Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(R. at 683.) The ALJ did, however, find that a number of jobs
existed which plaintiff could perform. (R. at 684.)
Therefore, the ALJ found her to be not disabled from December
14, 2009, the alleged onset date. (R at 685.) This decision
became final when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review. (R. at 1.)
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).
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 two reversible errors: the
ALJ failed to accommodate Plaintiff's moderate
limitations in concentrating, persisting, and maintaining
pace, and the ALJ failed to consider that Plaintiff's
failure to pursue medical treatment may be a symptom of her
Concentrating, Persisting, ...