United States District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division
DANIEL B. KING, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
Hon. Tanya Walton Pratt, Judge.
Plaintiff Daniel B. King (“Mr. King”) requests judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“the Commissioner”), denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). For the following reasons, the Court REMANDS in part and AFFIRMS in part the Commissioner’s decision.
A. Procedural History
Mr. Ki ng filed his applications for DIB and SSI on July 30, 2010, alleging a disability onset date of July 26, 2010. These claims were initially denied on October 29, 2010, and upon reconsideration on January 4, 2011. Thereafter, Mr. King requested a hearing, which was held on December 12, 2011, before Administrative Law Judge Robert M. Senander (“the ALJ”). Mr. King waived representation by an attorney. On March 7, 2012, the ALJ denied Mr. King’s applications for the period between July 26, 2010 and February 17, 2012, but found Mr. King disabled and eligible for SSI benefits as of February 17, 2012. On March 11, 2013, the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ’s decision, thus making it the final decision of the Commissioner for the purposes of judicial review. 20 C.F.R § 416.1481. On July 8, 2013, Mr. King filed this appeal requesting judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
B. Medical History
At the time of his alleged onset date of disability, July 26, 2010, Mr. King was 52 years old with a high school education. He had additional training at a truck driving school and past work history as a general laborer and truck driver. He last worked for Labor Ready cleaning and performing construction work at a pharmaceutical company. Mr. King reached 55 years of age in the summer of 2012, which is considered “advanced age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(e). The ALJ found that Mr. King was of advanced age as of February 17, 2012.
On August 11, 2010, Mr. King was diagnosed with hypertension, hypertensive heart disease, gastritis, coronary artery disease, and diabetes mellitus. At the request of the Social Security Administration (“the SSA”), Mr. King met with a consulting examiner in October 2010. The examiner, Dr. Kassab, diagnosed insulin-dependent diabetes, diabetic neuropathy, and a plantar wart on the right big toe. He noted that Mr. King had normal range of motion in the spine and all joints, could perform repeated movements with the feet, bend over without restriction, squat normally, could sit and stand, walked with a mild antalgic gait, and could walk on heels and toes with some difficulty.
In October 2010, a non-examining state physician, Dr. Wenzler, reviewed Mr. King’s records. He determined that Mr. King could perform a full range of light work because he could stand and/or walk for about six hours per eight-hour work day. In December 2010, Dr. Wenzler’s report was affirmed by Dr. Brill upon reconsideration.
A May 4, 2011 medical record from Dr. Sather noted that Mr. King was suffering from foot pain and that MRI results “showed crystal related disease vs. OA, not thought to be infectious. Please assist with eval and treatment or arthrocentesis from R[ight] plantar 1st MTP or L[eft] plantar areas to Dx crystal related disease.” (Filing No. 13-8, at ECF p. 21).
On November 18, 2011, Mr. King was treated in the emergency room for a diabetic foot ulcer on his right foot. He was given an x-ray of his right foot, which revealed “advanced degenerative changes of 1st metatarsophalangeal joint and a plantar soft tissue defect with associate subcutaneous emphysema.” (Filing No. 13-8, at ECF p. 37). He received a diagnosis of “foot ulcer diabetic ACTIVE.” (Filing No. 13-8, at ECF p. 37). He was discharged with instructions to follow up with his physician and was given clindamycin.
On December 2, 2011, Mr. King was admitted to the hospital for diabetic foot ulcers on his right foot. He was given an x-ray of his right foot which indicated “advanced degenerative changes at the first metatarsophalangeal joint, ” as well as multiple ulcer wounds. (Filing No. 13-8, at ECF p. 39.) On December 3, 2011, Mr. King was given an MRI of his right foot. There were no signs of infection, but the MRI showed “advanced chronic degenerative changes of the first MTP joint.” (Filing No. 13-8, at ECF. 41). Mr. King was discharged on December 5, 2011, with instructions for wound care and to follow up with podiatry. At a follow up on December 12, 2011, Mr. King was diagnosed with active foot ulcers and diabetes mellitus. Mr. King reported that his diabetes management and foot ulcers were improving.
C. The ALJ’s Decision
The ALJ made the following findings as part of his decision. At step one, the ALJ found Mr. King met the insured status requirements of the Act through September 30, 2011, and that he had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. At step two, the ALJ found that since July 26, 2010, Mr. King has had the following severe impairments: hypertensive heart disease, diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, foot ulcers, and gastritis. At step three, the ALJ found that Mr. King has not had an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. The ALJ then found that Mr. King had the residual functional capacity to perform the full range of light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). At step four, the ALJ found that Mr. King was unable to perform any past relevant work. The ALJ then found that Mr. King reached advanced age as of February 17, 2012. At step five, the ALJ found that prior to February 17, 2012, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that the Mr. King could perform; however, beginning on February 17, 2012, there were no jobs that existed in significant ...