United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
CHARLES A. CREECH, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
DENISE K. LaRUE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Charles A. Creech ("Creech") requests judicial review of the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying Creech's applications for disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). The Honorable Tanya W. Pratt, District Judge, designated this Magistrate Judge, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), to issue a report and recommendation on the request. [Dkt. 17.] For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends the Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.
A. Procedural History
Creech filed an application for DIB on July 6, 2011, alleging an onset of disability of July 21, 2004. [Dkt. 8-2 at 18.] Creech later amended his onset of disability date to January 27, 2007. Creech's application was denied initially on October 20, 2011, and upon reconsideration on November 28, 2011. Id. Creech requested a hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge James R. Norris ("ALJ") on September 19, 2012. The Appeals Council denied Creech's request for review of the ALJ's decision on January 14, 2014, making the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review. [Dkt. 8-2 at 2.] Creech filed his Complaint with this Court on March 3, 2014. [Dkt. 1.]
B. Factual Background and Medical History
Creech was born on June 8, 1952, and was 60 years old at the time of the hearing. He has a tenth grade education and past relevant work as automation technician and maintenance technician. Creech testified that he stopped working in July 2004 due to pain and stiffness in his hands, back and legs. The ALJ found Creech suffers from the medically determinable impairments of diabetes mellitus, hypertension, sleep apnea, asthma and obesity but found none of the impairments to be severe. The ALJ further found no support in the record during the relevant time period for Creech's alleged osteoarthritis of the lumbar spine. As Creech and the ALJ thoroughly summarized the medical records, the Court will only cite to the portions relevant to the issues on which Creech requests review.
A. Standard for Proving Disability
To be eligible for SSI and DIB, a claimant must show he is unable to "engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). To evaluate a disability claim, an ALJ must use the following five-step inquiry:
Step One: Is the claimant currently employed;
Step Two: Does the claimant have a severe impairment or combination of impairments;
Step Three: Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal any impairment listed in the regulations as being so severe as to ...