Kolman v. Sullivan, 89-1675

Decision Date15 February 1991
Docket NumberNo. 89-1675,89-1675
Citation925 F.2d 212
Parties, Unempl.Ins.Rep. CCH 15923A John A. KOLMAN, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. Louis W. SULLIVAN, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Defendant-Appellee.
CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Seventh Circuit

John A. Kolman, Phoenix, Ariz., pro se.

Frederick J. Daley, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiff-appellant.

Stephen J. Liccione, Asst. U.S. Atty., Office of the U.S. Atty., Milwaukee, Wis., Michael C. Messer, Gary A. Sultz, Department of Health and Human Services, Region V, Office of the General Counsel, Chicago, Ill., for defendant-appellee.

Before POSNER, COFFEY, and RIPPLE, Circuit Judges.

POSNER, Circuit Judge.

John Kolman appeals from a decision by the district court upholding the denial of social security disability benefits to him. The administrative law judge of the Social Security Administration found that Kolman had a severe impairment. This finding required the judge to consider whether he could do his past work. The judge found he could, and thus did not have to proceed to the next stage of the inquiry--whether there were a significant number of other jobs in the national economy that Kolman could perform despite his impairment. 42 U.S.C. Sec. 1382c(a)(3)(B); 20 C.F.R. Sec. 416.920; Herr v. Sullivan, 912 F.2d 178, 180 n. 1 (7th Cir.1990).

Kolman, a 34-year-old "loner," suffers from what psychiatry calls an "inadequate personality," implying a radical lack of interest in other people and manifested (in Kolman's case) in poor personal hygiene and offensive body odor, an obsessive and overly methodical approach to tasks, and an inability to handle even minimally stressful conditions. We have been unable to find any reference to "inadequate personality" in the psychiatric literature available to us, but as neither party questions the existence or severity of Kolman's impairment we shall not do so either. His work history is, as one might expect, erratic. Discharged from the Air Force after two months for "lack of motivation, immaturity, confusion, disorganization, and anxiety," he worked as a postal clerk for several years followed by intermittent stints as a security guard at industrial plants. He also spent several months as "an information security guide" in a county courthouse, a job that had been created under the auspices of CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act of 1973, P.L. 93-203, 87 Stat. 839), a federal job-training program that is now defunct.

The administrative law judge thought that Kolman "could have been expected to return to his past work as a non-intervening security guard." It was on the basis of this finding that the judge denied the application for benefits. By "non-intervening security guard" the judge meant a security guard who would not be expected to confront an intruder, come to the aid of a person being attacked, or in short do anything to "intervene" in a dangerous situation that might erupt on his watch, beyond reporting it by walkie-talkie to the real security personnel. This was in fact the nature of Kolman's CETA job. And in describing his other jobs as a security guard, Kolman did not mention "intervention" as one of his duties. It seems to be conceded that his mental condition disables him from work that would require him to make split-second decisions under conditions of stress: in short, to "intervene."

If, then, the CETA job was past relevant work within the meaning of the applicable social security regulations, Kolman loses. For his mental condition does not preclude his working as a "non-intervening security guard," as the CETA job may accurately be described. We are inclined to agree with DeRienzis v. Heckler, 748 F.2d 352 (2d Cir.1984), however, that a makework training job is not the type of work to which the regulations refer. It is a temporary job designed to equip the employee for real work--not a career that a person disabled from pursuing a real career can be expected to pursue. But if this is wrong, it cannot help the government in a case such as this, where...

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18 cases
  • Johnson v. Chater
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois
    • June 19, 1997
    ...in substantial gainful activity by returning to his previous job was error. In support of this contention, Johnson cites Kolman v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 212 (7th Cir.1991). In Kolman, the Seventh Circuit held that "a nonexistent makework training job is not past relevant work within the meanin......
  • In re Costas
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Ninth Circuit
    • February 6, 2009
  • Thomas v. Commissioner of Social Sec.
    • United States
    • U.S. Court of Appeals — Third Circuit
    • June 21, 2002
    ...job that does not exist seems nonsensical. In our view, the most perceptive precedent addressing the question at hand is Kolman v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 212 (7th Cir.1991). The holding in that case — that the ALJ should have continued to Step Five because the claimant's past job was a temporar......
  • O'Neal v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — Southern District of Ohio
    • February 19, 2013
    ...performed his job supported ALJ's finding that work constituted past relevant work and was not "makeshift"). Cf. Kolman v. Sullivan, 925 F.2d 212, 213-14 (7th Cir. 1991) (job created under federal job-training program with intent to prepare individuals such as the claimant for "real work" w......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
3 books & journal articles
  • Table of Cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Bohr's Social Security Issues Annotated - Volume II
    • May 4, 2015
    ...No. 94-35785, at *3 (9th Cir. Dec. 4, 1995), § 1210.5 Kolman v. Shalala , 39 F.3d 173, 177 (7th Cir. 1994), § 702.4 Kolman v. Sullivan , 925 F.2d 212 (7th Cir. 1991), § 106.5 Koonce v. Apfel , No. 98-1144, 1999 WL 7864, at *5 (4th Cir. Jan. 11, 1999), § 210.6 Kopulos v. Barnhart , 318 F.Sup......
  • Case survey
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Bohr's Social Security Issues Annotated - Volume I
    • May 4, 2015
    ...found in the competitive market. Johnson v. Chater , 969 F. Supp. 493, 511 (N.D. Ill. 1997). The court distinguished Kolman v. Sullivan , 925 F.2d 212 (7th Cir. 1991), which held that a nonexistent make-work training job is not past relevant work. Id. The court in Johnson held that there wa......
  • Table of cases
    • United States
    • James Publishing Practical Law Books Archive Social Security Issues Annotated. Vol. II - 2014 Contents
    • August 3, 2014
    ...No. 94-35785, at *3 (9th Cir. Dec. 4, 1995), § 1210.5 Kolman v. Shalala , 39 F.3d 173, 177 (7th Cir. 1994), § 702.4 Kolman v. Sullivan , 925 F.2d 212 (7th Cir. 1991), § 106.5 Koonce v. Apfel , No. 98-1144, 1999 WL 7864, at *5 (4th Cir. Jan. 11, 1999), § 210.6 Kopulos v. Barnhart , 318 F.Sup......

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