United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Kathryn G. Kane, Plaintiff,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
E. RAU UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Plaintiff Kathryn G. Kane
(“Kane”) seeks review of the Acting Commissioner
of Social Security's (“Commissioner”) denial
of her application for social security income
(“SSI”) and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”). See (Compl.) [Doc. No. 2]. The
parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment. (Mot. for
Summ. J.) [Doc. No. 17]; (Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J.) [Doc.
No. 19]. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants
Kane's Motion for Summary Judgment in part, denies the
Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment and remands
this case for further consideration consistent with this
protectively filed for SSI and DIB on December 18, 2013,
citing an alleged onset date (“AOD”) of March 1,
2008. (Admin. R.) [Doc. No. 12 at 145, 304, 305, 307]. Kane
claimed disability due to a bipolar disorder, depressive
disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, posttraumatic stress
disorder, and a personality disorder. (Id. at 145-46).
During evaluation for her other mental impairments, Kane also
presented with borderline intelligence. See, e.g.,
(id. at 469, 481, 1193-94). Kane's claim was
denied initially and upon reconsideration. (Id. at
14). Following a hearing, the administrative law judge (the
“ALJ”) denied benefits to Kane on February 9,
2016. See (id. at 14-30). The Appeals
Council denied Kane's request for review on March 3,
2017, rendering the ALJ's decision final. (Id.
at 1-3); see also 20 C.F.R. §
404.981.Kane initiated the instant law suit on
March 31, 2017. (Compl.).
time of her AOD, Kane was twenty-eight years old which makes
her a “younger person.” (Admin. R. at 145);
see also 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c). Kane did not
complete high school, dropping out in the twelfth grade, but
obtained her GED in 2000. See, e.g., (Admin. R. at
Before the ALJ
testified that she currently lives with her mother and
five-year-old daughter. See (id. at 55-56).
Kane testified that she lived with her mother for the first
four years of her daughter's life and that her mother
helped raise her daughter. See (id. at 56).
Kane also testified that at one point her mother moved out to
live in a senior center, but Kane “couldn't do
it” and so her mother moved back in to help with her
daughter. See (id.). Kane testified that
she receives $437 a month in general assistance, $400 of
which she gives her mother as rent. See
(id. at 56, 57). Kane also stated that she receives
food stamps, but does not know the amount. (Id. at
respect to activities of daily living, Kane testified that
she shops about once a month for groceries using the food
stamps, routinely drives her daughter six blocks to school,
and does not cook, although she can prepare TV dinners and
toast. See (id. at 57-59). Kane stated that
her daughter is becoming more independent and tends to some
of her own self-care needs like getting food or making a
sandwich. See (id. at 58). Kane stated that
she does not clean, or do the dishes, but can do the laundry
with help from her daughter. (Id. at 60). When home,
Kane rarely watches TV or reads. See (id.
at 61). When home with her daughter, they play with dolls,
and Kane sings her the “ABCs.” See
(id. at 62-63).
longest lasting employment before her AOD lasted
approximately three years when she performed automobile oil
changes. See (id. at 44). Kane stated she
was fired because she was not good with money or customers.
See (id.). After her AOD, Kane testified
that she worked in a limited capacity: being cast in a
television commercial and working for her brother in the food
industry loading trucks. See (id. at
43-45). Kane stated that while she worked with her brother,
her mother would not let her waitress because she
“didn't get along with people.” (Id.
various times throughout Kane's testimony, the ALJ
admonished Kane for not answering the questioned asked,
failing to allow the ALJ to finish her question, or answering
the question in a manner that was not helpful to the ALJ.
See, e.g., (id. at 58, 59, 60, 62). Kane
also testified that her mother helped her pass her GED exam.
See (id. at 69-70). Specifically, Kane
alleges that she was able to call her mother using her cell
phone to obtain answers on math related questions while the
proctor was distracted “doing . . . artsy craftsy stuff
at her desk.” See (id. at 68-70).
mother testified that she helps “a lot” with the
care of both Kane and Kane's daughter. See
(id. at 86). For example, Kane's mother
testified that Kane
runs out of food money, so the last two weeks of the month, I
buy food and I pay insurance on her car, . . . buy clothes
for both [Kane and her daughter] and all the necessities, . .
. welfare doesn't provide toilet paper and pop and things
like that, so I do my best.
(Id. at 86). Furthermore, Kane's mother stated
that Kane was not capable of tending to her own personal care
completely and that Kane was often reminded to shower, for
example. See (id. at 86-87). Kane's
mother also corroborated Kane's testimony that she
provided help over the phone during her GED examination
because she “wanted her to get a diploma” and
provided help with the “math and history
questions.” (Id. at 89).
Medical Evidence 
Stephen J. Antonello
J. Antonello, PhD (“Dr. Antonello”), conducted
his first psychological evaluation of Kane on May 11, 2011.
See (id. at 477-86) (Dr. Antonello's
first report). Dr. Antonello conducted a second psychological
evaluation of Kane on January 7, 2014. See
(id. at 465-76) (Dr. Antonello's second report).
During both interviews Kane presented with a depressed
affect. See (id. at 466) (presented with
“a depressed emotional affect”); (id. at
478) (presented with a “dull and depressed emotional
affect”). Dr. Antonello's opinions are largely
consistent between the two evaluations. For example, Dr.
Antonello concluded that Kane suffers from “[m]ajor
depression”; “[p]osttraumatic stress
disorder”; “social, generalized, obsessive, and
panic anxiety”; “[b]oderline personality
disorder”; “[a]voidant personality
disorder”; and “[b]orderline intellectual
functioning.” See (id. at 471,
482-83). Furthermore, Dr. Antonello opined that Kane was not
capable of working an eight-hour work day, was “likely
to have marked difficulty maintain social functioning, and
marked difficulty maintaining concentration, persistence, and
pace of activities.” See (id. at 473,
485). In support of these opinions, Dr. Antonello stated that
Kane's depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress
disorder, and personality disorder are likely to cause her
marked difficulty and ultimately work to reduce her
employability. See (id. at 472, 484).
primary difference in the psychological evaluations center
around results from objective tests, particularly Weschler
Adult Intelligence Score-3rd Edition
(“WAIS-III”) test results and Wide Range Achievement
Test-3 (“WRAT-3”) test results. The Court addresses
each of these tests below.