United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
BRANDIE N. LORENZEN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. Cox, U.S. Magistrate Judge
Brandie N. Lorenzen (“Plaintiff”) filed this
action seeking reversal of the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security denying her application for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Social Security Act (the “Act”).
Plaintiff filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on February 7,
2017.[dkt. 13].The Commissioner filed her response on May 24,
2017. [dkt. 22]. Plaintiff filed her Reply on May 30, 2017.
[dkt. 23]. For the reasons discussed below, Plaintiff's
motion for summary judgment is granted. This matter is
remanded for further proceedings consistent with this
filed for SSI as an adult on December 5, 2012, alleging
disability beginning December 6, 1997. (R. 22). Her
claim was denied initially on May 8, 2013, and upon
reconsideration on November 4, 2013. (Id.) Plaintiff
filed a written request for hearing on November 20, 2013. (R.
154). She appeared and testified at a hearing held on January
6, 2015, in Orland Park, Illinois. (R. 40). The ALJ also
heard testimony from Duane Biglow of Eps Rehabilitation,
Inc., an impartial vocational expert (“VE”), and
Kelly Lorenzen, Plaintiff's mother. (Id.)
Plaintiff was represented by John E. Horn, attorney.
issued his written decision denying Plaintiff's
application for SSI on April 14, 2015. (R. 35). The Appeals
Council denied review on August 20, 2016, thereby rendering
the ALJ's decision the final decision of the agency. (R.
1); Herron v. Shalala, 19 F.3d 329, 332 (7th Cir.
December 28, 2011, until September 13, 2013, Plaintiff was
seen often at Lurie Children's Hospital for her
rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. (R. 383-1953). Plaintiff
took Remicade for her arthritis, which reportedly improved
her symptoms. (R. 395).
Plaintiff's learning disability, Plaintiff has produced
two IQ tests. The first was performed by Alan Long, Ph.D.,
and was performed October 5, 2004, when Plaintiff was nine
years old. (R. 371). She performed at a low average range for
verbal comprehension, extremely low in perceptual reasoning,
and was borderline in working memory, and processing speed.
(R. 372). Her full-scale IQ was 70, which Dr. Long noted was
borderline. (Id.) His report also noted that
Plaintiff had been tested twice before, in 1998, when she
earned a full scale IQ of 65 and in 2001 when she earned a
full scale IQ of 64. (R. 371).
tested by Felix Caceres, M.A., L.C.P.C., on November 19,
2007, when she was twelve. (R. 377). This record showed low
average general intelligence and similar verbal and nonverbal
skills. (R. 377). The Plaintiff also demonstrated reading
ability in the 33rd percentile and writing skills in the 19th
percentile. (Id.) She had low math skills for her
grade. (Id.) The examiner noted that Plaintiff's
math and writing skills fell below the range predicted by her
intelligence. (Id.) She had relative weaknesses in
her sequential processing and short term visual memory; her
math and written expression skills were poorly developed for
her grade. (Id.) He recommended that she be
considered for Special Education eligibility under the
Learning Disability category. (Id.)
addition to medical reports, Plaintiff produced Progress
Reports from her high school. (R. 227-56). In January 2013,
Plaintiff was meeting goals on her individualized education
program (“IEP”), including obtaining information
required for her transition to post-secondary education, such
as knowledge of acceptance requirements, registration
information, and tuition. (R. 228). In her Summary of
Performance from November 9, 2012, Plaintiff appears to be
meeting the majority of the goals set for her by her IEP
team. (R. 233). Plaintiff is reading and comprehending at the
12th grade level in regular education classes with
accommodations and received a 12 on the reading section of
the ACT. (R. 233). She scored a 6 on the math section of the
ACT, showing she was “beginning to develop” the
skills to perform one-operation computation with whole
numbers and decimals. (R. 234). She is reportedly a
“typical high school senior, ” interested in
attending Columbia College in Chicago and going into theater
and film. (R. 234). She recognized how her disability
affected her school work and identified accommodations and
services that helped her succeed in her school work.
(Id.) The report also listed recommendations to help
the student, including suggesting that Plaintiff completed
job applications, continued living at home to save money and
work towards independent living skills, sought opportunities
for community participation, and continued to research
specific programs at Moraine Valley Community College. (R.
236). She was also described as a “bright hard working
student” and “self-advocate for herself”
who understood “how to use her accommodations in her
classes.” (R. 238). Her reading skills are average; her
English teacher believed she could comprehend the novels read
in class, but benefitted from having them read to her or
listening to the audiobook. (Id.)
earlier reports, from 2009-2010, the administrator noted that
Plaintiff did not independently know how to locate a place to
live in the community, set up a living situation, manage her
own money, or use local transportation. (R. 242). However,
she maintained personal grooming and hygiene and could
perform everyday household tasks. (Id.) She knew how
to get a job and demonstrated general job skills and work
attitude preferred by employers for keeping a job and
advancing. (Id.) It was still recommended that she
take occupational essentials in her sophomore year.
(Id.) Her report from November 9, 2012, stated that
Plaintiff had been functioning in the school setting with no
concern regarding her social or emotional needs and
recommended that social work services on a consult basis be
discontinued. (R. 256).
also produced letters from Trinity Christian College written
in December 2013 and January 2014 dismissing her for failure
to obtain the required GPA of 1.00. (R. 2051-52). She
received additional help from Moraine Valley Community
College's Center for Disability Services. (R. 2053).
However, she produced a letter dated December 22, 2014,
putting her on warning status at Moraine Valley because her
GPA was below ...