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July 23, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SIDNEY SCHENKIER, Magistrate Judge


The plaintiff, Dennis Mangus, seeks judicial review of a final decision denying his application for disability insurance benefits, under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"). On October 1, 2001, Mr. Mangus applied for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits ("DIB") for alleged disorders of the back (discogenic and degenerative) (R. 64), with an onset date of November 1, 2000. An administrative hearing was held before the Administrative Law Judge (the "ALJ") on July 2, 2002, during which Mr. Mangus, a medical expert ("ME") and a vocational expert ("VE") testified regarding his alleged back disorders (R. 24-63). Mr. Mangus's claim was denied by written decision of the ALJ on August 1, 2002 (R. 11-18). Mr. Mangus then brought a request for review before the Social Security Administration Appeals Council on September 26, 2002, which included new evidence submitted by his attorney (R. 7). The council denied the request for review on March 10, 2003 (R. 4-6). The ALJ's decision therefore became the final decision of the Commissioner. Mr. Mangus filed a timely complaint for administrative review before this Court on April 7, 2003. The parties now have filed cross motions for summary judgment: Mr. Mangus seeks reversal or remand of the Commissioner's decision (doc. # 11), and the Commissioner seeks a judgment affirming the decision (doc. # 14). For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies the Commissioner's motion for summary judgment, and grants Mr. Mangus's summary judgment motion seeking a remand*fn1


  The following facts are taken from the administrative record, the administrative hearing transcript, and the ALJ's written decision. The Court will first discuss Mr. Mangus's personal and medical history. Next, the Court will summarize the hearing testimony and the ALJ's written decision.


  Mr. Mangus is 53 years old and is married (R. 30). He lives with his wife and step-daughter (R. 38). Mr. Mangus has completed 8-1/2 years of education and can read and write (R.30). Prior to filing for disability, Mr. Mangus worked as a recycler from August 1991 to December 1992 and as a water meter reader from January 1994 to August 1997 (R. 104). Mr. Mangus has not been employed since August 1997, but he has worked as a homemaker during that time (R. 31).

  Mr. Mangus testified that the pain in his back began bothering him while he worked as a recycler (using an end loader), between August 1991 and December 1992 (R. 33). In August 1997, soon after he lost his job as a water meter reader, Mr. Mangus's back pain began to intensify (R. 33). On November 13, 2000, Mr. Mangus went to see Dr. Cichowicz, a naprapath,*fn2 who treated Mr. Mangus with hot packs, electrical muscle stimulation, and naprapathic manipulation (R. 140). Dr. Cichowicz' treatment decreased Mr. Mangus's pain for short periods of time, but the pain returned upon extended periods of sitting (R. 140). As a result, Dr. Cichowicz referred Mr. Mangus to an orthopedist (R. 140).

  Dr. Brackett, an orthopedic surgeon, began seeing Mr. Mangus in August 2001 (R. 147). On August 22, 2001, Mr. Mangus went to the emergency room at MacNeal Hospital, complaining of back pain; he was diagnosed with sciatica and given Vicodin (R. 15). In September 2001, Mr. Mangus underwent an MRI (R. 150), which showed degenerative disc disease at L5-S1 with a small extruded fragment and disc bulges at L3-4 and L4-5 (R.15). Mr. Mangus visited Dr. Brackett almost monthly from August 2001 through January 2002 (R. 145); during this time period, Mr. Mangus perceived that his back pain lessened (R. 145-46).


  At the administrative hearing, Mr. Mangus testified that he has not done any work for which he has been paid since November 1, 2000, his alleged onset date (R. 31). Mr. Mangus testified that he lost his last job as a water meter reader in 1997 because he stopped making political contributions (R. 32), although the reason given to him by the City of Berwyn was that he was unable to do the work (R. 12). Prior to working for Berwyn, Mr. Mangus worked for Waste Management in Cicero, where he worked as a recycler, operating an end loader (R. 32). Mr. Mangus testified that at this job he had to do some lifting from time to time, including lifting over twenty pounds*fn3 (R. 32-33). Mr. Mangus's job with Waste Management ended in December 1992 because his back began bothering him, although he did not know he had a back problem at the time because the pain was not as persistent (R. 33). After the Berwyn job ended in August 1997, Mr. Mangus did not look for work because he "really . . . started having trouble with [his] back" (R. 33). He did not seek employment outside the home after leaving that job.

  Mr. Mangus testified that he has current health problems which would interfere with working. These problems include pain in his back and right leg (R. 34). For example, Mr. Mangus testified that his right leg is half numb and certain movement, such as turns of the leg, causes a "jabbing pain" in his back (R. 34). Mr. Mangus testified that he is able to sit for forty to forty-five minutes at most before he needs to walk again (R. 35). After walking for ten to fifteen minutes, he then can resume sitting for another thirty minutes (R. 35). Mr. Mangus indicated similar problems with standing (R. 35).

  When the ALJ asked Mr. Mangus how far he can walk, Mr. Mangus testified that he is able to walk his dog about one block three times per week, at most (R. 35). Climbing stairs is difficult for him, and although he is able to bend at the knees, if he stoops to his feet, he cannot stand up again because his right leg has grown weak; he does not bend at the back (R. 36). Mr. Mangus testified that in May 2002 he hurt his back while cutting the grass (R. 36). When the ALJ asked if Mr. Mangus could lift twenty pounds, Mr. Mangus answered that, although he does the laundry (R. 39), he does not carry a basket of laundry, which he thinks is less than twenty pounds, because he thinks this activity might hurt his back (R. 37).

  Mr. Mangus testified that he keeps his daily routine simple because his back feels different depending upon what activity he does (R. 41). Mr. Mangus's day-to-day activities include watching television and planning the evening meal (R. 40). Mr. Mangus is also able to tend to his personal hygiene (R. 38); fix minor things around the house (R. 39); and drive, although he uses both feet because his right leg is numb and he fears his right foot will not respond quickly enough in an emergency (R. 42). Additionally, he drives to do grocery shopping but is unable to sit long enough to drive long distances (R. 43). He recently purchased a cane, although he has not used it (R. 44).

  The ALJ then questioned Mr. Mangus about his medical history. Mr. Mangus testified that his medications include Zocor for cholesterol, Vasotec for blood pressure, and Darvocet for his back, when needed (R. 37). With respect to actual use, Mr. Mangus indicated that he had not taken Darvocet ...

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