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Diaz v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

October 11, 2016

WILFREDO DIAZ, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This 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.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On July 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, Appendix 1.
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 ...

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