The opinion of the court was delivered by: Evans, United States Magistrate Judge:
This cause is before the Court on Plaintiff's motion, pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3), for review of a
final decision rendered by the Secretary of Health and Human
Services ("Secretary") finding him not disabled and consequently
not entitled to supplemental security income. Plaintiff requests
a reversal of the Secretary's decision or, in the alternative, a
remand for another hearing. For the reasons stated hereafter,
Plaintiff's motion is denied.
STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
Plaintiff applied for SSI on June 15, 1990, November 6, 1990,
and February 26, 1992. Each application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before
an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). On January 13, 1994, a hearing
was held in Springfield, Illinois. Plaintiff, represented by an
attorney, testified along with a vocational expert. On February
19, 1994, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled and
consequently, not entitled to supplemental security income. On
June 20, 1994, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of
the Secretary when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
LAW AND STANDARD OF REVIEW
In order to be entitled to disability insurance benefits,
Plaintiff must show that his inability to work is medical in
nature and that he is totally disabled. Disability benefits are
meant only for "sick" persons and are not intended to be a
surrogate unemployment insurance or a welfare program. Thus,
economic conditions, personal factors, financial considerations,
and attitudes of employers are irrelevant in determining whether
Plaintiff is eligible for disability benefits. See
20 C.F.R. § 404.1566.
Establishing disability under the Social Security Act is a
two-step process. First, Plaintiff must be suffering from a
medically determinable physical or mental impairment, or
combination of impairments, which can be expected to result in
death or which have lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months. 42 U.S.C. § 423
(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A) (Supp. 1994);
20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a). Second, there must be a factual determination that
the impairment renders the Plaintiff unable to engage in any
substantial gainful employment. McNeil v. Califano,
614 F.2d 142, 143 (7th Cir. 1980). That factual determination is made
using a five-step test. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.920. The steps are
examined in order as follows:
1. Is the Plaintiff presently unemployed?
2. Is the Plaintiff's impairment "severe?"
3. Does the impairment meet or exceed one of a list
of specified impairments?
4. Is the Plaintiff unable to perform his former
5. Is the Plaintiff unable to perform any other work
within the national economy?
An affirmative answer at any step leads either to the next
step, or on steps 3 and 5 to a finding that the Plaintiff is
disabled. A negative answer at any point, other than step 3,
stops the inquiry and leads to a determination that the Plaintiff
is not disabled. Garfield v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 605, 607 n. 2
(7th Cir. 1984). Plaintiff has the burden of production and
persuasion on steps 1-4. Once the Plaintiff shows inability to
perform past work, however, the burden shifts to the Secretary to
show ability to engage in some other type of substantial gainful
employment. Tom v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 1250, 1253 (7th Cir.
1985); Halvorsen v. Heckler, 743 F.2d 1221, 1225 (7th Cir.
The Court's function on review is not to try the case de novo
or to supplant the ALJ's findings with the Court's own assessment
of the evidence. Pugh v. Bowen, 870 F.2d 1271, 1274 (7th Cir.
1989). The Court must only determine whether the ALJ's findings
were supported by substantial evidence and whether the proper
legal standards were applied. Delgado v. Bowen, 782 F.2d 79, 82
(7th Cir. 1986). In determining whether the ALJ's findings were
supported by substantial evidence, the Court must consider
whether the record, as a whole, contains "such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct.
1420, 1427, 28 L.Ed.2d 842 (1971). Credibility determinations
made by the ALJ will not be disturbed unless such findings are
"patently wrong." Luna v. Shalala, 22 F.3d 687, 690 (7th Cir.
Plaintiff was thirty-six years of age at the time of the ALJ's
decision. He alleged disability due to drug and alcohol
dependence and a fractured right ankle. In arriving at her
conclusion that Plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of
receiving supplemental security income, the ALJ determined, among
other things, that Plaintiff was presently unemployed, his
impairments did not meet or exceed one of the listed impairments,
he had no prior relevant work experience, and there were a
significant number of jobs in the national economy which he could
Plaintiff offers two arguments in support of his motion.
Although it is difficult to ascertain from Plaintiff's
memorandum, it appears Plaintiff first attacks the ALJ's
determination that his impairments did not meet or exceed one of
the listed specified impairments (step 3 of the five-part test).
Next, Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred by relying on the