United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ERIC S. SNYDER, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
THE COMMISSIONER'S DECISION
JANE MAGNUS, District Judge.
Plaintiff Eric S. Snyder applied for benefits from the Social Security Administration ("SSA") on April 8, 2011, alleging a disability onset date of October 31, 2009. His applications were denied on May 27, 2011, and denied again after reconsideration on July 19, 2011. A hearing was held on June 21, 2012, in front of Administrative Law Judge Albert J. Velasquez (the "ALJ"), who determined that Mr. Snyder was not entitled to receive benefits. [Filing No. 12-2 at 17-30.] The Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's "final decision" subject to judicial review. Mr. Snyder has filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), asking the Court to review his denial of benefits. [Filing No. 1.]
Mr. Snyder was forty-five years old as of his onset date. [Filing No. 12-5 at 2.] Previously, he had worked as a manager at a printing company, a manager at a convenience store, and a web page designer. [Filing No. 12-2 at 50.] Mr. Snyder claims he has been disabled since October 31, 2009, because of a variety of physical impairments that will be discussed as necessary below. [Filing No. 12-5 at 2.]
Using the five-step sequential evaluation set forth by the SSA in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520, the ALJ issued an opinion on July 20, 2012. [Filing No. 12-2 at 17-30.] The ALJ found as follows:
At Step One of the analysis, the ALJ found that Mr. Snyder had not engaged in substantial gainful activity after the alleged disability onset date. [Filing No. 12-2 at 19.]
At Step Two, the ALJ found that Mr. Snyder suffered from the severe impairments of obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, episodic gout, residual effects of hernia repairs, diabetes mellitus, and sleep apnea. [Filing No. 12-2 at 19.]
At Step Three, the ALJ found that Mr. Snyder did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed impairments. [Filing No. 12-2 at 20.] The ALJ concluded that Mr. Snyder had the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to lift and carry ten pounds occasionally and five pounds frequently; to stand or walk for two hours in an eight-hour workday; to sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday; and to perform work that allows an individual to elevate his or her feet eighteen inches while seated. The ALJ also concluded that Mr. Snyder cannot climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; cannot kneel and crawl; can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, and crouch; cannot work around unprotected heights, dangerous moving machinery, open flames, or large bodies of water; and cannot operate a motor vehicle. [Filing No. 12-2 at 22.]
At Step Four, the ALJ found that Mr. Snyder was unable to perform any of his past relevant work. [Filing No. 12-2 at 27.]
At Step Five, the ALJ found that considering Mr. Snyder's age, education, work experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that he can perform. Specifically, the ALJ found Mr. Snyder would be capable of working as an information clerk, telemarketer, or general office clerk. [Filing No. 12-2 at 29.]
Based on these findings, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Snyder was not disabled and was not entitled to benefits. [Filing No. 12-2 at 29.] Mr. Snyder requested that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision and submitted additional medical records, but on October 31, 2013, the Council denied that request. [Filing No. 12-2 at 2-4.] That decision is the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of judicial review, and Mr. Snyder subsequently sought relief from this Court. [Filing No. 1.]
STANDARD OF ...