Israel v. Colvin, No. 15-3220 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
In 2001, Israel injured his back while digging posts for a porch. He worked while receiving treatments but his pain worsened; he stopped working in February 2003. He underwent a lumbar laminectomy and diskectomy, which did not resolve his pain Two surgeons determined that further surgery was not an option. Under the care of various doctors, Israel tried physical therapy, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), a dorsal column stimulator, epidural injections, narcotic pain medications including Methadone and morphine, lidocaine patches, a muscle relaxer, an anti‐depressant, and drugs for nerve pain. Diagnosed with lumbar radiculopathy and post‐laminectomy pain syndrome, Israel continues to experience severely limiting pain. His doctor sought approval to implement an “intrathecal drug delivery system,” a pain pump that delivers medication directly to the spinal cord. Israel’s insurer refused to cover the cost. Israel sought Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income benefits in 2007. On remand, the Social Security Administration repeatedly denied benefits.The Commissioner conceded in the district court that her decision was not supported by substantial evidence and requested remand. Israel, frustrated with years of delay, sought a direct award of benefits. The district court remanded. The Seventh Circuit affirmed, finding that the district court did not abuse its discretion in ordering a remand; the agency should expedite proceedings so that the matter may be resolved.