JUDD v. COLVIN
ORDER - The Court VACATES the ALJ's decision denying Ms. Judd benefits and REMANDS this matter for further proceedings pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (sentence four). Final judgment will issue accordingly. (See Order.) Signed by Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson on 12/29/2016. (GSO)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF INDIANA
COURTNEY M. JUDD,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Acting
Commissioner of the Social Security
Plaintiff Courtney Judd applied for disability benefits under the Social Security Act on
March 15, 2013.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 17.]
Her claim was denied both initially and on
reconsideration, and a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Ronald T.
Jordan on January 13, 2015. [Filing No. 14-2 at 17.] On January 23, 2015, the ALJ issued an
opinion concluding that Ms. Judd was not disabled as defined by the Social Security Act. [Filing
No. 14-2 at 17.] The Appeals Council denied her request for review on February 17, 2016, making
the ALJ’s decision the Commissioner’s final decision subject to judicial review. [Filing No. 14-2
at 2.] Ms. Judd filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) on November 20, 2015, asking
this Court to review her denial of benefits. [Filing No. 1.]
STANDARD OF REVIEW
“The Social Security Act authorizes payment of disability insurance benefits and
Supplemental Security Income to individuals with disabilities.” Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212,
214 (2002). “The statutory definition of ‘disability’ has two parts. First, it requires a certain kind
of inability, namely, an inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity. Second it requires
an impairment, namely, a physical or mental impairment, which provides reason for the inability.
The statute adds that the impairment must be one that has lasted or can be expected to last . . . not
less than 12 months.” Id. at 217.
When an applicant appeals an adverse benefits decision, this Court’s role is limited to
ensuring that the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and that substantial evidence exists for
the ALJ’s decision. Barnett v. Barnhart, 381 F.3d 664, 668 (7th Cir. 2004) (citation omitted). For
the purpose of judicial review, “[s]ubstantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a reasonable
mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted). Because the ALJ
“is in the best position to determine the credibility of witnesses,” Craft v. Astrue, 539 F.3d 668,
678 (7th Cir. 2008), this Court must afford the ALJ’s credibility determination “considerable
deference,” overturning it only if it is “patently wrong,” Prochaska v. Barnhart, 454 F.3d 731, 738
(7th Cir. 2006) (quotations omitted).
The ALJ must apply the five-step inquiry set forth in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v),
evaluating the following, in sequence:
(1) whether the claimant is currently [un]employed; (2) whether the claimant has a
severe impairment; (3) whether the claimant’s impairment meets or equals one of
the impairments listed by the [Commissioner]; (4) whether the claimant can
perform [her] past work; and (5) whether the claimant is capable of performing
work in the national economy.
Clifford v. Apfel, 227 F.3d 863, 868 (7th Cir. 2000) (citations omitted) (alterations in original). “If
a claimant satisfies steps one, two, and three, [she] will automatically be found disabled. If a
claimant satisfies steps one and two, but not three, then [she] must satisfy step four. Once step
four is satisfied, the burden shifts to the SSA to establish that the claimant is capable of performing
work in the national economy.” Knight v. Chater, 55 F.3d 309, 313 (7th Cir. 1995).
After Step Three, but before Step Four, the ALJ must determine a claimant’s Residual
Functional Capacity (“RFC”) by evaluating “all limitations that arise from medically determinable
impairments, even those that are not severe.” Villano v. Astrue, 556 F.3d 558, 563 (7th Cir. 2009).
In doing so, the ALJ “may not dismiss a line of evidence contrary to the ruling.” Id. The ALJ
uses the RFC at Step Four to determine whether the claimant can perform his own past relevant
work, and if not, at Step Five to determine whether the claimant can perform other work. See 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(e), (g). The burden of proof is on the claimant for Steps One through Four; only
at Step Five does the burden shift to the Commissioner. Clifford, 227 F.3d at 868.
If the ALJ committed no legal error and substantial evidence exists to support the ALJ’s
decision, the Court must affirm the denial of benefits. Barnett, 381 F.3d at 668. When an ALJ’s
decision is not supported by substantial evidence, a remand for further proceedings is typically the
appropriate remedy. Briscoe ex rel. Taylor v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 345, 355 (7th Cir. 2005). An
award of benefits “is appropriate only where all factual issues have been resolved and the record
can yield but one supportable conclusion.” Id. (citation omitted).
Ms. Judd was born in 1989. [Filing No. 14-2 at 27.] After being initially tested in
elementary school, Ms. Judd was diagnosed as mildly mentally handicapped. [Filing No. 14-6 at
70.] As a result, she attended special education classes through high school and obtained a
certificate of completion. [Filing No. 14-2 at 46.]
In February of 2010, Ms. Judd was evaluated by Dr. Albert Fink. [Filing No. 14-7 at 3.]
Dr. Fink administered the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (Fourth Edition) (“WAIS-IV”) test
and assessed a full scale IQ of 65, a score in the first percentile. [Filing No. 14-7 at 4.] Dr. Fink
observed that Ms. Judd “did not appear to concentrate well during formal testing suggesting that
the results obtained may well be an under estimate of actual ability.” [Filing No. 14-7 at 3.] Dr.
Fink diagnosed Ms. Judd with borderline intellectual functioning and a reading disorder (by
history). [Filing No. 14-7 at 5.] In October of 2010, Ms. Judd was evaluated by Dr. Betty Unger
Watson. [Filing No. 14-7 at 38.] Dr. Watson diagnosed Ms. Judd with “possible mild mental
retardation or borderline intellectual functioning.” [Filing No. 14-7 at 41.] Also in October 2010,
Ms. Judd was evaluated by Dr. Deborah Zera. [Filing No. 14-7 at 43.] Dr. Zera diagnosed Ms.
Judd with “mild mental retardation,” ruling out borderline intellectual functioning and learning
disabilities. [Filing No. 14-7 at 44.] Neither Dr. Watson nor Dr. Zera administered an IQ test.
In December of 2010, Ms. Judd was evaluated by Dr. Eileen Schellhammer, a licensed
school psychologist. [Filing No. 14-9 at 15.] Dr. Schellhammer evaluated Ms. Judd using the
Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale (Fifth Edition) and assessed a full scale IQ of 57. [Filing No.
14-9 at 19.] On the Wide Range Achievement Test IV (“WRAT-IV”), Ms. Judd “showed basic
skills at the late second to mid-third grade equivalence,” with a reading level assessed at grade 2.9.
[Filing No. 14-9 at 19.] In April of 2013, Ms. Judd was again evaluated by Dr. Fink. [Filing No.
14-7 at 65.] He diagnosed Ms. Judd with a reading disorder and borderline intellectual functioning.
[Filing No. 14-7 at 66.] Dr. Fink did not administer an IQ test.
Ms. Judd has not been able to obtain a driver’s license, which she testified was because she
could not pass the written examination portion of the test. [Filing No. 14-2 at 44.] She was
previously employed at a daycare and as a cafeteria worker. [Filing No. 14-2 at 45-46.]
Using the five-step sequential evaluation set forth by the Social Security Administration in
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4), the ALJ ultimately concluded that Ms. Judd is not disabled. [Filing
No. 14-2 at 28.] The ALJ found as follows:
At Step One of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Judd meets the insured status
requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2015, and has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity1 since her alleged onset date of October 1, 2005.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 19.]
At Step Two of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Judd has the following severe
impairments: mental handicap. [Filing No. 14-2 at 19.]
At Step Three of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Judd does not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of
the listed impairments. [Filing No. 14-2 at 19.] The ALJ considered various listings,
but ultimately found that Ms. Judd does not meet any of them. [Filing No. 14-2 at 2023.]
After Step Three but before Step Four, the ALJ found that Ms. Judd has the RFC to do
perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following
nonexertional limitations: the work must require only simple, repetitive
tasks requiring no independent judgment regarding basic work processes.
Work goals from day to day should be static and predictable. The work
must not require a production pace.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 23.]
At Step Four of the analysis, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Judd had no past relevant
work. [Filing No. 14-2 at 27.]
Substantial gainful activity is defined as work activity that is both substantial (i.e. involves
significant physical or mental activities) and gainful (i.e. work that is usually done for pay or profit,
whether or not a profit is realized). 20 C.F.R. § 404.1572(a); 20 C.F.R. § 416.972(a).
At Step Five, the ALJ found that jobs exist in significant numbers in the national
economy that Ms. Judd could perform, specifically: housekeeper; auto detailer; and
warehouse worker. [Filing No. 14-2 at 27-28.]
Based on these findings, the ALJ concluded that Ms. Judd is not disabled as defined by
the Social Security Act and, thus, is not entitled to the requested disability benefits.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 28.]
Ms. Judd presents multiple issues on appeal that she contends require this Court to reverse
the decision of the ALJ denying her request for disability benefits. [Filing No. 18.] First, she
contends the ALJ erred at Step Three by concluding that she did not meet Listing 12.05(C). [Filing
No. 18 at 4.] Second, she claims that the ALJ erred by failing to evaluate material medical evidence
in the record, specifically her four Global Assessment of Functioning (“GAF”) scores. [Filing No.
18 at 4.] And third, Ms. Judd argues that the ALJ made an erroneous credibility determination. 2
[Filing No. 18 at 4.] After evaluating the parties’ arguments, the Court reverse the ALJ’s decision
denying disability benefits to Ms. Judd.
A. Listing 12.05 (Intellectual Disability)
Ms. Judd argues that the ALJ erred in concluding that she did not meet Listing 12.05(C).
[Filing No. 18 at 17.] She contends that the ALJ erroneously found that there was no evidence in
the record establishing that she suffers from an additional impairment (beyond her intellectual
disability) that causes a significant work-related limitation. [Filing No. 18 at 22.] She also argues
Ms. Judd initially raised an additional claim that the ALJ erred in determining her RFC because
he omitted Ms. Judd’s moderate restrictions with concentration, persistence, or pace. [Filing No.
18 at 39.] In her reply brief, Ms. Judd withdrew that claim, so the Court will not address it here.
[See Filing No. 25 at 1.]
that the ALJ failed to explain why he concluded that Ms. Judd did not have a valid IQ score
between 60 and 70. [Filing No. 18 at 18.]
The Commissioner argues in response that the ALJ correctly concluded that Ms. Judd does
not suffer from an additional impairment that imposes a significant work-related limitation. [Filing
No. 24 at 12.] The Commissioner also responds that the ALJ did conclude that Ms. Judd had a
valid IQ score of between 60 and 70. [Filing No. 24 at 12.]
A listing “describes impairments that are considered presumptively disabling when a
claimant’s impairments meet the specific criteria described in the Listing.” Maggard v. Apfel, 167
F.3d 376, 379 (7th Cir. 1999) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1525(a)). The Code of Federal Regulations
provides that the Social Security Administration “will find that [a claimant’s] impairment(s) meets
the requirements of a listing when it satisfies all of the criteria of that listing, including any relevant
criteria in the introduction, and meets the duration requirement....” 20 C.F.R. § 416.925(c)(3).
Listing 12.05 contains an initial paragraph that lays out the diagnostic description of intellectual
disability, plus four separate criteria (paragraphs A through D). See 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpt. P,
App. 1, § 12.00. In order to meet Listing 12.05, a claimant must have an impairment that meets
one of the four criteria of that Listing. See Adkins v. Astrue, 226 Fed. Appx. 600, 605 (7th Cir.
2007) (citing 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, § 12.05); Maggard, 167 F.3d at 380.
The Seventh Circuit has summarized the requirements for a finding of intellectual disability
under Listing 12.05(C) as follows: “(1) significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning;
(2) deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the developmental period before
age 22; (3) a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of sixty through seventy; and (4) a physical
or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of
function.” Adkins, 226 Fed. Appx. at 605 (citations omitted); see also 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt.
P, App. 1 at § 12.00(A) (“If your impairment satisfies the diagnostic description in the introductory
paragraph and any one of the four sets of criteria, we will find that your impairment meets the
listing.”). The Seventh Circuit has also noted that “[o]rdinarily a person with an IQ under 70 and
at least one additional impairment that imposes a limitation on ability to work…is automatically
deemed to be disabled.” Browning v. Colvin, 766 F.3d 702, 704 (7th Cir. 2014).
1. Additional Impairment
Regarding Listing 12.05(C), the ALJ concluded that
[f]inally, the ‘paragraph C’ criteria of listing 12.05 are not met because the claimant
does not have a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a
physical or other mental impairment imposing any additional and significant workrelated limitations of function. In fact, there is no evidence of any other significant
physical or mental impairment. Although Dr. Fink diagnosed a reading disorder,
by history, there is no current evidence of such a disorder. Any deficits she has in
reading very likely are attributable to her mental handicap and impose no additional
and significant work-related limitation.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 23.] Ms. Judd argues that the ALJ erred in concluding that there was no
evidence in the record establishing that she suffers from an additional impairment (beyond her
intellectual disability) that causes a significant work-related limitation. [Filing No. 18 at 39.] Ms.
Judd contends that the ALJ also erred in concluding that her reading and learning disabilities were
“likely [ ] attributable to her mental handicap,” and therefore did not qualify as separate
[Filing No. 18 at 39.] The Commissioner responds that the ALJ correctly
determined that Ms. Judd did not suffer from an additional impairment, but that even if she did,
that impairment did not impose any additional and significant work-related limitations. [Filing
No. 24 at 25.]
The first requirement, that Ms. Judd have a valid full scale IQ score between 60 and 70, will be
addressed in the following section.
The ALJ erred in concluding that there was no evidence of an additional mental
impairment, and in concluding that her reading disorder was “likely attributable” to her mental
handicap. The ALJ cited no medical or psychological evidence to support his conclusion that Ms.
Judd’s reading disability was “very likely…attributable” to her mental handicap. [Filing No. 142 at 23.] Nothing in the evaluations by the various examiners suggests that any of Ms. Judd’s
disabilities would be attributable to one another. The consultative examiners who evaluated Ms.
Judd addressed her various potential intellectual disabilities separately, including borderline
intellectual functioning, mild mental retardation, learning disability, and reading disability. [See
Filing No. 14-7 at 2-6; Filing No. 14-7 at 43-44; Filing No. 14-7 at 65-67; Filing No. 14-9 at 1526.]
For example, Dr. Fink, in his second and most recent evaluation, diagnosed Ms. Judd with
borderline intellectual functioning and a reading disorder. [Filing No. 14-7 at 66.] Dr. Zera
diagnosed Ms. Judd with mild mental retardation, and indicated that a rule-out diagnosis was
necessary for borderline intellectual functioning and learning disabilities. [Filing No. 14-7 at 44.]
While it may seem intuitive to the ALJ that a reading disability would be somehow linked to mild
mental retardation, the ALJ may not rely on his own intuition. It is well-established that “[l]ay
intuitions about medical phenomena are often wrong.” Id. The ALJ cannot “succumb to the
temptation to play doctor.” Schmidt v. Sullivan, 914 F.2d 117, 118 (7th Cir. 1990). Moreover, the
ALJ cited no legal authority suggesting that a reading or learning disability (whether or not
“attributable to a mental handicap”) would not be considered an additional impairment under
Listing 12.05(C). See Lugo v. Barnhart, 2003 WL 22025011, at *9 (N.D. Ind. 2003) (“this Court
acknowledges that a learning disorder in addition to mental retardation could satisfy § 12.05(C)”).
This was error that requires remand.
The Commissioner responds that any error was harmless, because either (1) there is no
record evidence establishing that Ms. Judd still suffers from a reading disability; or (2) she failed
to establish that any such disability was significant enough to impose a work-related limitation.
[Filing No. 24 at 13-16.] The Commissioner’s first argument is unavailing. Dr. Fink’s 2013 report
indicated a diagnosis of “reading disorder.” [Filing No. 14-7 at 66.] That diagnosis is supported
by prior reports, including Dr. Fink’s earlier diagnosis of reading disorder by history, [Filing No.
14-7 at 5], and Dr. Schellhammer’s grade 2.9 reading level assessment, [Filing No. 14-9 at 26].
The Commissioner’s second argument is also unpersuasive. It is correct that Ms. Judd
bears the burden of proving that her additional disability imposes a significant, work-related
restriction. However, because the ALJ concluded that Ms. Judd presented “no evidence” of an
additional restriction, he did not provide any analysis as to how significant such an impairment
2. Full Scale IQ Between 60 and 70
Ms. Judd argues that the ALJ erred in concluding that she did not have a valid full scale IQ
score between 60 and 70. The Commissioner responds that the ALJ made no such finding.
The ALJ stated, “[f]inally, the ‘paragraph C’ criteria of listing 12.05 are not met because
the claimant does not have a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a
physical or other mental impairment imposing any additional and significant work-related
limitations of function.” [Filing No. 14-2 at 23.] Ms. Judd interprets this statement as concluding
that she satisfied neither the IQ nor the “other mental impairment” criterion. The Commissioner
interprets this statement differently, arguing that the ALJ concluded that Ms. Judd does have a
valid IQ score between 60 and 70, but does not meet the requirement of an additional impairment.
The ALJ’s statement is ambiguous. Given the conjunctive construction of the sentence, it
is not clear whether the ALJ concluded that Ms. Judd failed to meet both, or just one, of the
subsection’s requirements. And the ALJ does not expressly state anywhere in his decision whether
Ms. Judd has a valid IQ score between 60 and 70. In December of 2010, Dr. Schellhammer
assessed a full scale IQ score of 57. That score, if credited by the ALJ, would have satisfied
paragraph 12.05(B), which requires “a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 59 or less.”
See 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, § 12.05. But the ALJ found the score of 57 invalid,
concluding that Ms. Judd “does not have a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 59 or
less.” [Filing No. 14-2 at 23.] The ALJ did not state explicitly why he found the score of 57
invalid, but he did state that “testing in December 2010 showed a Full Scale IQ of 57, yet testing
earlier that year showed a Full Scale IQ score of 65 along with apparent minimal effort, suggesting
a higher potential.” [Filing No. 14-2 at 23 (internal citations omitted).] It is possible that the ALJ
found the score of 57 invalid, and the score of 65 valid, but it is not clear based on the language of
The Court agrees with the Commissioner that the context of the ALJ’s statement suggests
that the ALJ likely concluded or assumed that the IQ score of 65 was valid, and then found that
Ms. Judd did not suffer from another impairment. Taking the ALJ’s first sentence together with
subsequent ones, the decision reads as follows:
[f]inally, the ‘paragraph C’ criteria of listing 12.05 are not met because the claimant
does not have a valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a
physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant workrelated limitation of function. In fact, there is no evidence of any other significant
physical or mental impairment.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 23.] However, the fact remains that the ALJ’s decision was silent as to his
finding on valid IQ scores. On remand, the ALJ should make an explicit finding as to the valid IQ
score, in order to remedy the ambiguity that exists in the current decision.
B. GAF Scores
Ms. Judd argues that the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the GAF scores in the record.
[Filing No. 18 at 39.] A GAF score of 41 to 50 indicates “serious symptoms or [a] serious
impairment in social, occupational, or school functioning,” and Ms. Judd argues that two of her
GAF scores (45 and 50) indicate an inability to maintain employment. [Filing No. 18 at 39.] The
Commissioner disagrees, arguing that no further discussion of the GAF scores was required.
[Filing No. 18 at 39.]
The ALJ recounted at some length the four evaluations that contained GAF assessments.
At the end of each of those discussions, the ALJ stated the GAF score that was reported by each
individual reviewer, which ranged from 45 to 60. [Filing No. 14-2 at 23-24.] That constituted the
entirety of the ALJ’s GAF treatment.
An ALJ must consider all evidence in the record and may not ignore an entire line of
evidence contrary to his decision. See Sparks v. Colvin, 2015 WL 3618344, at *6-7 (S.D. Ind.
2015). But, an ALJ is not required to give any weight to individual GAF scores, see Denton v.
Astrue, 596 F.3d 419, 425 (7th Cir. 2010), and a low GAF score alone is insufficient to overturn
an ALJ’s finding of no disability, Bates v. Colvin, 736 F.3d 1093, 1100 (7th Cir. 2013).
Here, the ALJ did not ignore Ms. Judd’s GAF scores. First, the ALJ expressly listed all of
Ms. Judd’s scores, so he was clearly aware that Ms. Judd had received assessments indicative of
potentially serious symptoms. [Filing No. 14-2 at 23-24.] He then considered the broader record
of Ms. Judd’s intellectual impairments, including the evaluations upon which the GAF scores were
based, Ms. Judd’s testimony, and the third-party report submitted by Ms. Judd’s mother. The ALJ
“need not evaluate in writing every piece of testimony and evidence submitted,” Carlson v.
Shalala, 999 F.2d 180, 181 (7th Cir. 1993), and the ALJ’s decision makes clear that he considered
the record medical evidence upon which the GAF scores were based. Therefore, remand is not
required on this issue.
C. Credibility Determination
Ms. Judd also argues that the ALJ’s credibility determination was patently wrong. The
Commissioner disagrees. The ALJ concluded that he “generally [found] the claimant’s description
of the location, duration, frequency, and duration of her symptoms unpersuasive as they are
generally unfounded elsewhere in the record.” [Filing No. 14-2 at 26.] The ALJ stated, among
other credibility findings, that:
[s]he has alleged that she cannot read, yet at the hearing she admitted that she can
read some and that she received good grades in reading and English. Although
these were special education classes, it is highly unlikely that she would have
received such grades if she had no reading ability.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 26.]
Because the case is being remanded on other issues, the Court need not fully address Ms.
Judd’s credibility argument. But the Court notes that it is concerned by the ALJ’s conclusion
regarding Ms. Judd’s reading ability. First, the ALJ does not specify where in the record Ms. Judd
alleges that she “cannot read.” The following exchange took place at Ms. Judd’s hearing:
ALJ: I mean, I was kind of, struck by the fact that you got an A in reading one year.
And A’s and B’s in English. I guess you were in special ed.
Ms. Judd: Yeah. I was in special ed classes.
ALJ: But you say you can’t read?
Ms. Judd: Big words. Like, because I was in special ed, I can’t do, like regular
classes. I was in all special ed classes.
ALJ: Right. Right.
Ms. Judd: And easy level reading. And then, they try to make it harder, and I
couldn’t do that. I had to, like, do easy levels when I was in high school.
ALJ: Okay. So, you can read.
Ms. Judd: Yeah, a little bit.
[Filing No. 14-2 at 39.] Elsewhere in his decision, the ALJ writes that Ms. Judd “said she does
not drive because she cannot read to pass the test.” [Filing No. 14-2 at 20.] It appears that the
ALJ drew this statement from Dr. Fink’s first report, in which Dr. Fink writes, “[s]he does not
have a driver’s license indicating that she has never been able to pass the test ‘because [she] could
not read.’” [Filing No. 14-7 at 5.]
A review of the complete record suggests that Ms. Judd’s statements regarding her reading
ability amount to her expressing that she could not read well, not that she could not read at all.
Indeed, it would have been strange for Ms. Judd to have told Dr. Fink (or any other evaluator) that
she could not read at all, given that all of her evaluators administered tests to her that required
reading. She also stated to evaluators and testified at her hearing that she could not read well.
It is unclear what evidence the ALJ relied upon in making his credibility assessment on
this issue, but it seems implausible that Ms. Judd attempted to convince others that she was
completely illiterate. On remand, the ALJ should ensure that he builds a logical bridge between
the evidence on which he relies and his credibility determination.
For the reasons detailed herein, the Court VACATES the ALJ’s decision denying Ms. Judd
benefits and REMANDS this matter for further proceedings pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
(sentence four). Final judgment will issue accordingly.
Electronic Distribution via CM/ECF:
Timothy J. Vrana
TIMOTHY J. VRANA LLC
Kathryn E. Olivier
UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
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