(R. at 58-59.) Even though the ALJ found Curtis' testimony incredible, it is corroborated, in part, by the testimony of Curtis' girlfriend. (The ALJ did not find the girlfriend's testimony to be incredible.) She stated that Curtis took money he received from her and used it to buy street drugs. (R. at 55.) Based on the state of the record, then, the court cannot find that the conclusion drawn by the ALJ is supported by substantial evidence.
The ALJ may have anticipated the court's disagreement with his finding of continued substantial gainful activity since he also made an alternative finding. In his second finding, the ALJ determined that Curtis was not disabled because he could return to his past relevant work. The court finds this determination troublesome.
From the ALJ's opinion, the court cannot determine whether the ALJ took into consideration the nature of Curtis' drug abuse when making his finding. While the ALJ seemed aware of the existence of abuse, he did not make a finding as to the degree of abuse. The ALJ did not enter into any discussion regarding whether Curtis could control his drug habit. Although the Secretary attempts to piece together a finding from statements made by the ALJ, these statements are not sufficient. As is the case with alcohol abuse, the ALJ must specifically determine whether Curtis can control his drug use. See Cannon v. Harris, 651 F.2d 513, 518 (7th Cir. 1981) (where there is evidence of alcohol abuse, the Secretary must inquire whether claimant has lost the ability to control its use); Collins v. Secretary of Health and Human Services, No. 83-9192, slip op. at 6 (N.D. Ill. 1986) (when ALJ evaluates claimant's ability to perform past relevant work, he must inquire whether claimant has lost the ability to control his drug use); Pharr v. Bowen, No. 86-4886, slip op. at 2-3 (N.D. Ill. 1988) (finding made regarding severity of drug abuse). The ALJ can then continue with an inquiry into Curtis' work capabilities.
Turning to those capabilities, the findings of a majority of the doctors involved in this case indicate that Curtis has work limitations. The findings merely differ on the degree of the limitations. This court will not second-guess the ALJ's reconciliation of the doctors' findings. However, the court does note the views of the only vocational specialist who submitted a report. He found that Curtis is limited to simple, unskilled work. And, therefore, Curtis cannot be expected to return to either of his past jobs since they require more than unskilled function. (R. at 93.)
Of greater concern to the court is the type of past relevant work in which Curtis engaged and to which the ALJ found Curtis still suited. Curtis was a pizza delivery driver. This position requires that he drive an automobile and handle money. The testimony at Curtis' hearing raises doubts about his abilities in both areas. Curtis' girlfriend testified that she budgeted and disbursed Curtis' money. (R. at 55.) She stated that Curtis often took the money she gave him for bills and instead used it to pay for his heroin habit. (R. at 59.) Further, one of the contributing factors to his loss of the pizza delivery job in the first place was job-related dishonesty. (R. at 165.) His ability to handle money is subject to question.
Curtis' ability to drive is also questionable. The other contributing factor to his loss of the pizza delivery position was his involvement in an automobile accident. Curtis told Donald Koch of the Bureau of Disability Determination Services that he was under the influence of drugs at the time of the accident. (R. at 92.) After that incident, it is unclear whether Curtis even has a driver's license. If Curtis has an uncontrollable drug addiction, his presence behind the wheel would endanger him as well as the general public. In any event, the chances that Curtis would be rehired for such a position are slim. As pointed out by the Seventh Circuit in a case where a claimant's impairment caused him to confuse the gas and brake pedals, "no responsible employer would hire a person to drive . . . [where] the liability implications for the employer if the employee injured someone in an accident would be staggering." DeFrancesco v. Bowen, 867 F.2d 1040, 1044 (7th Cir. 1989).
This action, then, is remanded to the ALJ. With these concerns in mind, the ALJ is directed to determine whether Curtis' drug abuse is controllable and to develop a fuller record as to Curtis' work capabilities. The evaluation of disability analysis outlined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)-(f) should be continued and a benefits determination made accordingly.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
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