United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM & ORDER
PHIL GILBERT, DISTRICT JUDGE.
accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), plaintiff Lisa
Barnes-Atterberry, on behalf of AMR, a minor, seeks judicial
review of the final agency decision denying AMR's
application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423.
applied for SSI on behalf of AMR in 2007. (Tr. 179-85). In
2008, the agency determined that AMR suffered from a
disability as of October 2007. (Tr. 21). The agency reviewed
AMR's case in 2014 and determined she no longer suffered
from a disability as of May 2014. (Tr. 98-102). This
determination was upheld on reconsideration and plaintiff
requested an evidentiary hearing. Administrative Law Judge
(ALJ) Stuart Janney conducted a hearing in January 2016 and
issued an unfavorable decision thereafter. (Tr. 21-42). The
Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review,
rendering the ALJ's decision the final agency decision.
(Tr. 1-6). Plaintiff exhausted her administrative remedies
and filed a timely Complaint in this Court. (Doc. 1).
asserts that the ALJ erred in evaluating a treating
source's opinion. She also contends the ALJ erroneously
held that AMR had less than marked limitations in domains of
“Attending and Completing Tasks, Interacting and
Relating to Others, and Caring for Yourself.”
qualify for SSI, a child must be disabled within the meaning
of the applicable statutes. “An individual under the
age of 18 shall be considered disabled” if she
“has a medically determinable physical or mental
impairment, which results in marked and severe functional
limitations” that “can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42
U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i). The Regulations set forth a
three-step analysis for this assessment. 20 C.F.R. §
416.924(a). The Seventh Circuit has explained the process as
First, if the child is engaged in substantial gainful
activity, the ALJ will deny the claim. Second, if the child
does not have a severe medical impairment or combination of
impairments, then she is not disabled. Third, the child's
impairments must meet, medically equal, or functionally equal
any of the listings contained in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P,
Jelinek v. Astrue, 662 F.3d 805, 809-10 (7th Cir.
determine whether an impairment or combination of impairments
functionally equals the listings, the ALJ assesses a
claimant's functioning using six domains: Acquiring and
Using Information; Attending and Completing Tasks;
Interacting and Relating with Others; Moving About and
Manipulating Objects; Caring for Yourself; and Health and
Physical Well-Being. If the claimant is markedly limited in
two domains or extremely limited in one domain, the claimant
functionally equals the listings. 20 C.F.R. §
child has been awarded benefits, the agency undertakes a
periodic review of continued eligibility to receive benefits.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1594a. The agency first considers
whether there has been medical improvement of the child's
impairment(s). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594a(a)(1).
“Medical improvement is any decrease in the medical
severity of [a child's] impairment(s) which was present
at the time of the most recent favorable decision that [they]
were disabled or continued to be disabled.” 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1594a(c). If there has not been any medical
improvement, the child remains disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1594a(b)(1). If there has been medical improvement, the
Commissioner considers whether the impairment(s) the child
had at the most recent favorable decision still meets or
equals a listing. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594a(b)(2). If the
child's impairment(s) no longer meets or equals a
listing, the Commissioner then considers whether the child
has any other severe impairment(s) that meets or equals a
listing. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594a(b)(3).
claimant may appeal the final decision of the Social Security
Administration to this Court, but the scope of review here is
limited: while the Court must ensure that the ALJ did not
make any errors of law, the ALJ's findings of fact are
conclusive as long as they are supported by
“substantial evidence.” 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is evidence that a reasonable person
would find sufficient to support a decision.
Weatherbee, 649 F.3d at 568 (citing Jens v.
Barnhart, 347 F.3d 209, 212 (7th Cir. 2003)). The Court
takes into account the entire administrative record when
reviewing for substantial evidence, but it does not reweigh
evidence, resolve conflicts, decide questions of credibility,
or substitute its own judgment for that of the ALJ.
Brewer v. Chater, 103 F.3d 1384, 1390 (7th Cir.
1997); Moore v. Colvin, 743 F.3d 1118, 1121 (7th
Cir. 2014). But even though this judicial review is limited,
the Court should not and does not act as a rubber stamp for
the Commissioner. Parker v. Astrue, 597 F.3d 920,
921 (7th Cir. 2010).
determined that at the time of the last favorable decision,
AMR had medically determinable impairments of speech and
language delays. He opined medical improvement occurred as of
May 1, 2014 and AMR's impairments did not functionally
equal a listing as of that date. The ALJ opined that as of
May 1, 2014, AMR had severe impairments of attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), opposition defiant disorder
(ODD), personality disorder, autism spectrum disorder,
history of chromosomal disorder, history of developmental
delays, and insomnia. (Tr. 24-32). ALJ Janney found none of
these impairments or combination of impairments met,
medically equaled, or functionally equaled any of the
listings. Thus, AMR's disability ended on May 1, 2014 and
she had not become disabled since. (Tr. 33-42).
Court has reviewed and considered the entire evidentiary
record in formulating this Memorandum and Order. The
following summary of the record is directed to the
completed a continuing disability form in January 2014. AMR
was born in 2003. Plaintiff indicated AMR had a personality
disorder and mood and anger issues. AMR could not stay
focused and needed repetitive instruction. She could not
deliver telephone messages, tell jokes, explain why she did
something, or use sentences with “because, ”
“what if, ” or “should have been.”
She could not read and understand simple sentences or stories
in books. AMR could not write in longhand or write a simple
story with six sentences. AMR could not understand money or
tell time. She could not use roller skates, swim, or work
video game controls. AMR was very clumsy, fell down, and ran
into things. AMR had no friends her age and generally did not
get along with adults or schoolteachers. She liked to fight
and argue. AMR could not bathe without assistance and she did
not put away toys, hang-up clothes, help with chores, do what
she was told, obey safety rules, or accept criticism. AMR
needed continual supervision. She could not be left
unattended with smaller children because she yelled at them
and knocked them down. In September 2013, AMR used matches to
light a couch and floor on fire. (Tr. 206, 217, 220-26).
fourth-grade teacher completed a questionnaire in March 2014
that consisted of five domains: Caring for Herself; Moving
About and Manipulating Objects; Interacting and Relating with
Others; Attending and Completing Tasks; and Acquiring and
Using Information. The teacher opined AMR had no problems
with functions associated with Acquiring and Using
Information. AMR had the following problems with Attending
and Completing Tasks: slight problems focusing, carrying out
multi-step instructions, completing assignments, and working
at a reasonable pace; and obvious problems with organization.
AMR had no problems with functions associated with
Interacting and Relating with Others, Moving About and
Manipulating Objects, or Caring for Herself. AMR's