United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
TESHERIA M. REDMON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MARIA VALDEZ, Magistrate Judge.
This action was brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to review the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Tesheria M. Redmon's claim for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons that follow, Redmon's motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 24] is granted in part and denied in part, and the matter is remanded to the Commissioner for further proceedings.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Redmon applied for Supplemental Security Income and Disability Insurance Benefits on June 18, 2007, alleging a disability since December 31, 2006. (R. 135-41.) Her application was denied on September 27, 2007 and upon reconsideration on January 10, 2008. (R. 70-77, 84-90.) Redmon filed a timely request for a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), which was held on December 1, 2009. (R. 37.) Redmon personally appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (R. 40, 44-60.) A vocational expert also testified. (R. 60-64.)
On December 14, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision denying Redmon's claim for benefits, finding her not disabled under the Social Security Act. (R. 21-32.) The Social Security Administration Appeals Council denied Redmon's request for review on August 25, 2011, (R. 1-3), leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner and therefore reviewable by the District Court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Haynes v. Barnhart, 416 F.3d 621, 626 (7th Cir. 2005).
II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Redmon was born on August 2, 1978, and was 31 years old at the time of the hearing. (R. 44.) She is 5'4" tall and weighed approximately 404 pounds. (R. 165). At the time of the hearing Redmon lived with her sister and brother-in-law. (R. 53.) She is unmarried and has a son who, at the time of the hearing, she had not seen in twenty days. (R. 44-46.) Redmond received a GED and has attended college courses. (R. 45.) She has worked as a cashier, telemarketer, tutor, and cook. (R. 30, 175.) Redmon claims a disability onset date of December 31, 2006 due to back pain, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), and paranoia. (R. 166.)
B. Testimony and Medical Evidence
1. Redmon's Testimony
Redmon was driven to the hearing by her brother-in-law, as she does not have a driver's license. (R. 45.) Generally she utilizes the PACE service for transportation because she is unable to take public transportation. (R. 53-54.) Redmon's most recent work was at Target, where she worked on and off as a cashier for a couple of months from 2006 into 2007. (R. 47.) Prior to that, Redmon worked as a tutor for AmeriCorps, a telemarketer, and a cook. (R. 47-48.) She finds bathing a chore, does not cook, clean, do household chores, or grocery shop. (R. 52.) Redmon's typical day consists of sitting around watching television or lying in bed. (R. 53.) She does not read and seldom uses the computer. (R. 55.)
Redmon claims her disability began on December 31, 2006. (R. 45.) She began having panic attacks, had difficulty getting out of bed, was unable to leave the house, and found it difficult to do anything. (R. 45-46.) At that time she sent her son to live his father. ( Id. ) The panic attacks resulted in emergency room visits. (R. 46.) The treating psychiatric physician at the emergency room suggested the attacks could have resulted from a recent trauma. ( Id. ) Redmon attributed these anxiety attacks to the traumatic revelation that her son had been molested by a relative, which triggered memories of Redmon's own sexual abuse. ( Id. )
In addition to the panic attacks, Redmon also has issues standing and walking for long periods of time. (R. 49.) For example, she claims to be unable to stand for longer than twelve minutes, and alleges she can only walk a couple of blocks. ( Id. ) Redmon attributes these limitations to her obesity. ( Id. ) Redmon does not allege any difficulty sitting or any radiation of the back pain. (R. 50.) Redmon experiences regular fears of leaving her home and often misses doctor's appointments as a result. (R. 53.) She has difficulty being around people, as she fears ...