United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
KENYATA CRAWFORD, ex. rel. C.D., a minor, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Kenyata Crawford filed this action on behalf of her minor
son, C.D., 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 (Act). 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
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.
October 25, 2012, Kenyata Crawford filed an application for
SSI on behalf of her minor child, C.D., who was born on
February 12, 2006, alleging that he became disabled on
October 1, 2012. (R. at 62). The application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration, after which Ms. Crawford
filed a timely request for a hearing. (Id. at 61-79,
96-98). On February 20, 2015, C.D. and Ms. Crawford,
unrepresented by counsel, testified at a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). (Id. at 36-60).
27, 2015, the ALJ denied C.D.'s request for benefits. (R.
at 12-35). Applying the three-step sequential evaluation
process, the ALJ found at step one that C.D. has not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since October 25, 2012, his
application date. (Id. at 15). At step two, the ALJ
found that C.D.'s attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder (ADHD) is a severe impairment. (Id.). At
step three, the ALJ determined that C.D. does not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meet or
medically equal the severity of any of the Listings.
(Id.). Specifically, the ALJ concluded that C.D.
does not meet or medically equal Listing 112.11.
(Id.). (Id. at 16). The ALJ then determined
that C.D. does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that functionally equal the severity of any of
the Listings. (Id. at 16-30).
Appeals Council denied C.D.'s request for review on
October 13, 2016. (R. at 1-6). C.D. now seeks judicial review
of the ALJ's decision, which stands as the final decision
of the Commissioner. Villano v. Astrue, 556 F.3d
558, 561-62 (7th Cir. 2009).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
review of the Commissioner's final decision is authorized
under 42 U.S.C. 405(g). On review, the Court may not engage
in its own analysis of whether the plaintiff is severely
impaired as defined by the Social Security Regulations.
Young v. Barnhart, 362 F.3d 995, 1001 (7th Cir.
2004). Nor may it “reweigh evidence, resolve conflicts
in the record, decide questions of credibility, or, in
general, substitute [its] own judgment for that of the
Commissioner.” Id. The Court's task is
“limited to determining whether the ALJ's factual
findings are supported by substantial evidence.”
Id. Evidence is considered substantial “if a
reasonable person would accept it as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Indoranto v. Barnhart, 374 F.3d
470, 473 (7th Cir. 2004); see Moore v. Colvin, 743
F.3d 1118, 1120-21 (7th Cir. 2014). “Substantial
evidence must be more than a scintilla but may be less than a
preponderance.” Skinner v. Astrue, 478 F.3d
836, 841 (7th Cir. 2007). The ALJ must “explain his
analysis of the evidence with enough detail and clarity to
permit meaningful appellate review.” Briscoe ex
rel. Taylor v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 351 (7th Cir.
this Court accords great deference to the ALJ's
determination, it “must do more than merely rubber
stamp the ALJ's decision.” Scott v.
Barnhart, 297 F.3d 589, 593 (7th Cir. 2002) (citation
omitted). “[T]he ALJ must identify the relevant
evidence and build a ‘logical bridge' between that
evidence and the ultimate determination.” Moon v.
Colvin, 763 F.3d 718, 721 (7th Cir. 2014). Where the
Commissioner's decision “lacks evidentiary support
or is so poorly articulated as to prevent meaningful review,
the case must be remanded.” Steele v.
Barnhart, 290 F.3d 936, 940 (7th Cir. 2002).
child qualifies as disabled and therefore may be eligible for
SSI if he has a ‘medically determinable physical or
mental impairment, which results in marked and severe
functional limitations' and the impairment ‘has
lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of
not less than 12 months.'” Hopgood ex rel. L.G.
v. Astrue, 578 F.3d 696, 699 (7th Cir. 2009) (quoting 42
U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i)). To decide whether a child
meets this definition, the Social Security Administration
(SSA) employs a three-step analysis to decide whether a child
meets this definition. 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a). First, if
the child is engaged in substantial gainful activity, his or
her claim is denied. Id. Second, if the child does
not have a medically severe impairment or combination of
impairments, then his or her claim is denied. Id.
Finally, the child's impairments must meet, or be
functionally equivalent, to any of the Listings of
Impairments (Listings) contained in 20 CFR pt. 404, subpt. P,
app. 1. Id. To find an impairment functionally
equivalent to one in the Listings, an ALJ must analyze its
severity in six age-appropriate categories: “(i)
acquiring and using information; (ii) attending and
completing tasks; (iii) interacting and relating with others;
(iv) moving about and manipulating objects; (v) caring for
yourself; and (vi) health and physical well-being.
Id. § 416.926a(b)(1). To functionally equal the
Listings, the ALJ must find an “extreme”
limitation in one category or a “marked”
limitation in two categories. An “extreme”
limitation occurs when the impairment interferes very
seriously with the child's ability to independently
initiate, sustain or complete activities. Id. §
416.926a(e)(3)(i). A “marked” limitation is one
which interferes seriously with the child's ability to
independently initiate, sustain, or complete activities.
Id. § 416.926a(e)(2)(i).
raises two main arguments in support of his request for
reversal of the ALJ's determination that he is not
disabled: (1) the ALJ improperly evaluated C.D.'s and Ms.
Crawford's subjective symptom statements by failing to
reach an explicit “credibility” finding; and (2)
the ALJ did not set forth a supported rationale for finding a
less than marked limitation in the domains of “Caring
for Yourself” and “Attending and Completing
Tasks.” (Dkt. 20 at 5-13).
The ALJ's Subjective Symptom Evaluation
Regulations describe a two-step process for evaluating a
claimant's own description of his or her impairments.
First, the ALJ “must consider whether there is an
underlying medically determinable physical or mental
impairment(s) that could reasonably be expected to produce
the individual's symptoms, such as pain.” SSR
16-3p, at *2; see also 20 C.F.R. § 416.929.
“Second, once an underlying physical or mental
impairment(s) that could reasonably be expected to produce
the individual's symptoms is established, we evaluate the
intensity and persistence of those ...