United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON DISTRICT JUDGE
Tim Reed seeks judicial review of a final decision of
defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social
Security, finding him not disabled within the meaning of the
Social Security Act. The court heard oral argument on October
26, 2017. For reasons explained during oral argument and
summarized here, the court will deny Reed's motion for
summary judgment and affirm the Commissioner's decision.
administrative law judge thoroughly assessed the record, and
substantial medical evidence supports the ALJ's
Concentration, persistence, and pace
contends that the ALJ's hypothetical for the vocational
expert did not address his limitations in concentration,
persistence, and pace. The ALJ concluded that Reed had
moderate CPP limitations because of Reed's reading
disorder, and matched his hypothetical to that particular
limitation. Reed has not shown that the ALJ's
hypothetical requires remand.
ALJ's hypothetical for a vocational expert "must
incorporate all of the claimant's limitations supported
by the medical record, " Yurt v. Colvin, 758
F.3d 850, 857 (7th Cir. 2014). Here, the limitation supported
by the medical record is Reed's reading disorder, as
indicated by a consultative examiner on April 23, 2014 (R.
313), July 9, 2015 (R. 471), and July 15, 2015 (R.
the ALJ's hypothetical:
I would like you to assume a sixth grade education .... [The
hypothetical worker] would be limited to unskilled work
involving simple routine and repetitive tasks that do not
require reading to learn so tasks that could be learned by
demonstration and verbally. He should not work at any fast
paced production line tasks.
R. 58-59. The court questioned the parties during oral
argument whether this hypothetical fully captures the
deficiencies in Reed's ability to read. Even if a job
could be taught by demonstration, performing the job could
conceivably require reading. As counsel for the Commissioner
pointed out, the ALJ's hypothetical restricted potential
jobs to those requiring at most a sixth grade education, so
it is unlikely that they would require sophisticated reading.
And the jobs proposed by the vocational expert, a sweeper,
housekeeper, order filler, and packer, require only modest
has not shown that his reading disorder is so severe that he
cannot perform the jobs proposed by the vocational expert. In
his brief, he relied on the April 23, 2014 opinion of a
consultative examiner, but that opinion says, "Mr.
Reed's cognitive profile is stable and there should be no
further changes. Many individuals cope fairly well with
reading, reading comprehension, and math capabilities as
evidenced by Mr. Reed." R. 313.
contends that he also has general slowness in processing
information. He again relies on the April 23, 2014 opinion of
the consultative examiner, who noted that Reed's
"working memory and processing speed are both below
borderline level" and that his IQ was 89 (low average
range)." R. 312. Reed contends that this means he
suffers from a general slowness in processing information,
which would result in his working at an unacceptably slow
pace. But the evidence does not support this theory. The
consultative examiner's diagnosis was that Reed had a
reading disorder, R. 313; he did not diagnose Reed with
generalized slowness in processing information. The examiner
also opined that "Reed is able to understand, remember,
and carry out simple instructions, I would anticipate that he
should be able to withstand routine work stresses and adapt
to changes on the job." R. 313.
relies heavily on the fact that it took him eight hours to
complete a nine-page function report. R. 272. But the ALT
recognized Reed's reading problem and accounted for it in
the hypothetical and the RFC. The court concludes that the
ALT properly identified Reed's specific problems in
maintaining concentration, persistence or pace, and
appropriately accounted for them in the hypothetical for the
contends that the ALT should have considered the combined
effects of obesity in conjunction with his other impairments.
He argues that obesity could worsen musculoskeletal
impairments, degenerative disc disease, and
arthritis. The ALT stated that he "considered