United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Michael T. Mason, United States Magistrate Judge
Antoinette Nelson (“Claimant”) brings this motion
to reverse the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Commissioner”), denying Claimant's
claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under 42
U.S.C. §§ 416(i) and 423(d) of the Social Security
Act (“the Act”). The parties have consented to
the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). This Court has
jurisdiction to hear this matter pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) and 138(c)(3). For the reasons stated below,
Claimant's motion to reverse the final decision of the
Commissioner  is granted, and the Commissioner's
motion for summary judgment  is denied.
April 10, 2012, Claimant filed a Title II DIB application and
a Title XVI SSI application, alleging a disability onset date
of January 6, 2012. (R. 186-98.) Plaintiff later amended her
disability onset date to May 26, 2011. (R. 14, 34.) Her claim
was denied initially on July 31, 2012, and again upon
reconsideration on January 28, 2013. (R. 119-22, 128-36.)
Claimant filed a hearing request on January 31, 2013 pursuant
to 20 C.F.R. § 404.929 et seq. (R. 146-48.) On
October 29, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision denying
Claimant's claims for DIB and SSI. (R. 11-24.) Claimant
then requested review by the Appeals Council. (R. 9-10.) On
May 27, 2016, the Appeals Council denied her request for
review, at which time the ALJ's decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner. (R. 1-6); Zurawski v.
Halter, 245 F.3d 881, 883 (7th Cir. 2001). Claimant
subsequently filed this action in the District Court.
seeks DIB and SSI for disabling conditions stemming from a
bulging disc, pinched nerves in back, and back problems. (R.
Relevant Medical Records
April 14, 2011, Claimant saw Dr. Dallas Bogner at Thedacare
Physicians and reported intermittent pain in her lower back.
(R. 473.) She was referred to physical therapy and physiatry.
(R. 477.) Claimant was again recommended physical therapy as
well as steroid injections on June 24, 2011. (R. 596-98.)
April 30, 2012, Claimant saw Dr. Karl Greene, who reported
that Claimant's symptoms have failed to respond
effectively to chiropractic interventions, physical therapy
interventions, and the use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory
medications and a recent lumbar injection. (R. 613-15.) A
cervical MRI taken on May 4, 2012 revealed minimal to mild
degenerative cervical spondylosis and disc bulging. (R. 611.)
September 21, 2012 Claimant saw Dr. Bogner regarding low back
pain and depression. (R. 640.) Dr. Bogner opined that
depression was a new diagnosis due to the pain and losing
custody of her children. (R. 641.) On October 5, 2012,
Claimant reported that her pain was at a five out of ten and
that the medication allowed her to function. (R. 634.) Dr.
Bogner noted that Claimant had a steroid injection that was
possibly mildly helpful and had been meeting with physical
therapy. (Id.) Claimant's depression was listed
as severe. (R. 635-36.)
presented to Dr. Ashley Warmoth on October 17, 2013 regarding
her depression. (R. 649.) Claimant had started Prozac one
month prior, but was not noticing any improvement overall.
(Id.) Dr. Warmoth filled out a Mental Health
Questionnaire and opinion Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”) on July 8, 2013. (R. 720-22.) Dr. Warmoth
indicated that Claimant was diagnosed with depression and
that her limitations could be expected to last for twelve
months or longer. (R. 721.) Claimant was noted to have
moderate restriction of activities of daily living, marked
difficulties in maintaining social functioning, moderate
deficiencies of concentration, persistence or pace; and there
was insufficient evidence to determine whether there were
episodes of deterioration or decompensation. (R. 722.) Dr.
Warmoth also estimated that Claimant would be absent from
work about four days per month as a result of her
31, 2012, State Agency consultant Dr. Pat Chan reviewed
Claimant's medical evidence of record and opined that she
was not disabled. (R. 73-82.) Dr. Chan determined that
Claimant had some exertional limitations and that Claimant
can occasionally lift 20 pounds, frequently lift 10 pounds,
stand or walk about 6 hours in an 8 hour work day, sit about
6 hours of a normal work day and should avoid stooping
frequently. (R. 79.) He opined that she would have
“unlimited” ability to kneel, crouch and crawl.
(R. 79-80.) Dr. Chan also considered Listing 1.04 due to
Claimant's impairments. (R. 78.) Susan Donahoo, Psy.D.,
reviewed Claimant's file on January 28, 2013 and
considered Claimant's condition under Listing 12.04. (R.
102.) Dr. Donahoo stated that Claimant had no restriction of
activities of daily living, no difficulties in maintaining
social functioning, no difficulties in maintaining
concentration, persistence or pace, and no repeated episodes
of decompensation. (Id.) Dr. Ronald Shaw reviewed
Claimant's file on January 25, 2013 and gave the same RFC
finding in regards to exertional limitations as Dr. Chan and
opined that Claimant was not disabled. (R. 103- 04, 106.)
date of the hearing, Claimant was thirty-three years old and
living with her fiancé and six-year old daughter. (R.
35.) She had no income but received $30 of Food Share a
month. (R. 36.) Claimant worked for Countrywide Paramedics
doing drug and alcohol testing from 2009-2012, but she
stopped the part-time work in 2012 after moving to Wisconsin
and because the job required her to sit or stand for too
long. (R. 40-41.) When asked to explain in her own words why
she felt she was disabled she stated that she had been
struggling since 2007, when she began having back problems.
(R. 42.) Movements such as bending, lifting, stretching,
walking for long periods of time, sitting for long periods of
time, and doing everyday things had become very difficult.
(Id.) The back pain was all through her back, and
she also had pain in her shoulder and neck. (R. 44.)