Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Wofford v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

May 8, 2017

SHARON WOFFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, [1]Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          MARY M. ROWLAND United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Sharon Wofford filed this action seeking reversal of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 423 et. seq., 1381 et seq. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), and filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below, the case is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this Opinion.

         I. THE SEQUENTIAL EVALUATION PROCESS

         To recover DIB or SSI, a claimant must establish that he or she is disabled within the meaning of the Act. York v. Massanari, 155 F.Supp.2d 973, 977 (N.D. Ill. 2001).[2] A person is disabled if he or she is unable to perform “any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505(a), 416.905(a). In determining whether a claimant suffers from a disability, the Commissioner conducts a standard five-step inquiry:

1. Is the claimant presently unemployed?
2. Does the claimant have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that interferes with basic work-related activities and is expected to last at least 12 months?
3. Does the impairment meet or equal one of a list of specific impairments enumerated in the regulations?
4. Is the claimant unable to perform his or her former occupation?
5. Is the claimant unable to perform any other work?

20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1509, 404.1520, 416.909, 416.920; see Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000). “An affirmative answer leads either to the next step, or, on Steps 3 and 5, to a finding that the claimant is disabled. A negative answer at any point, other than Step 3, ends the inquiry and leads to a determination that a claimant is not disabled.” Zalewski v. Heckler, 760 F.2d 160, 162 n.2 (7th Cir. 1985). “The burden of proof is on the claimant through step four; only at step five does the burden shift to the Commissioner.” Clifford, 227 F.3d at 868.

         In addition, in cases such as the one before the Court, where an individual is determined to be disabled and entitled to benefits for a closed period, the Commissioner uses an eight-step sequential process to determine whether the claimant's disability continues. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1594(f), 416.994(b)(5); see Phillips v. Astrue, 601 F.Supp.2d 1020, 1028 (N.D. Ill.2009). In applying the eight-step process, the Commissioner must determine:

1. Has the claimant engaged in any substantial gainful activity?
2. If not, does the claimant have an impairment or combination of impairments which meets or equals the severity of a listed impairment?
3. If not, has there been a medical improvement as shown by a decrease in medical severity?
4. Is the medical improvement related to the claimant's ability to do work?
5. If no to steps three and four, do any exceptions to medical improvement apply?
6. If yes to step four, are the claimant's current impairments severe in combination?
7. If the impairments are severe, can the claimant perform his past relevant work?
8. If not, can the claimant perform any other work?

20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1594(f), 416.994(b)(5); see Phillips, 601 F.Supp.2d at 1028; O'Reilly v. Astrue, No. 11 C 1409, 2012 WL 1068780, at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.