United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
R. CHERRY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Wilfredo Diaz on November 24, 2015, and
Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 21], filed by Plaintiff on
May 31, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the Court reverse the
July 23, 2014 decision of the Administrative Law Judge
denying him disability insurance benefits and remand for
further proceedings. For the following reasons, the Court
denies Plaintiff's request.
16, 2012, Plaintiff Wilfredo Diaz filed an application for
disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning
May 19, 2012. The claim was denied initially and on
reconsideration. On April 14, 2014, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Kim L. Bright.
Present at the hearing were Plaintiff, his attorney, and an
impartial vocational expert. The ALJ issued a written
decision on July 23, 2014, concluding that Plaintiff was not
disabled based on the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 16, 2012, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairment[s]:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, major
depressive disorder and alcohol abuse.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 416.967(b) except he can stand/walk for two hours in an
eight-hour workday. He can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs. He can frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and
crawl. He can never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds.
Further, because the claimant has moderate difficulties in
concentration and pace but no difficulties in persistence,
the claimant retains the ability to perform unskilled and
semiskilled tasks on a sustained basis in a competitive work
setting no[sic] requiring rapid pace or intense
concentration. He is able to have appropriate interactions
with supervisors and coworkers but is limited to superficial
interaction with the public due to mild difficulty in
maintaining his temper. The claimant is able to make
appropriate work related decisions.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born [in 1960] and was 51 years old,
which is defined as an individual closely approaching
advanced age, on the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform.
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since July 16, 2012, through ...