United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, United States District Judge.
matter is before the court for judicial review of a final
decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security
Administration denying Plaintiff's application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and for Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) as provided for in the Social Security
Act. 42 U.S.C. §416(I). Section 205(g) of the Act
provides, inter alia, "[a]s part of his answer, the
[Commissioner] shall file a certified copy of the transcript
of the record including the evidence upon which the findings
and decision complained of are based. The court shall have
the power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the
record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the
decision of the [Commissioner], with or without remanding the
case for a rehearing." It also provides, "[t]he
findings of the [Commissioner] as to any fact, if supported
by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive. . . ." 42
provides that an applicant for disability insurance benefits
must establish an "inability to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months. . . ." 42 U.S.C. §416(i)(1); 42 U.S.C.
§423(d)(1)(A). A physical or mental impairment is
"an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. §423(d)(3). It is
not enough for a plaintiff to establish that an impairment
exists. It must be shown that the impairment is severe enough
to preclude the plaintiff from engaging in substantial
gainful activity. Gotshaw v. Ribicoff, 307 F.2d 840
(7th Cir. 1962), cert. denied, 372 U.S. 945 (1963);
Garcia v. Califano, 463 F.Supp. 1098 (N.D.Ill.
1979). It is well established that the burden of proving
entitlement to disability insurance benefits is on the
plaintiff. See Jeralds v. Richardson, 445 F.2d 36
(7th Cir. 1971); Kutchman v. Cohen, 425 F.2d 20 (7th
the foregoing framework, "[t]he question before [this
court] is whether the record as a whole contains substantial
evidence to support the [Commissioner's] findings."
Garfield v. Schweiker, 732 F.2d 605, 607 (7th Cir.
1984) citing Whitney v. Schweiker, 695 F.2d 784, 786
(7th Cir. 1982); 42 U.S.C. §405(g). "Substantial
evidence is defined as 'more than a mere scintilla. It
means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'"
Rhoderick v. Heckler, 737 F.2d 714, 715 (7th Cir.
1984) quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
401, 91 S.Ct. 1410, 1427 (1971); see Allen v.
Weinberger, 552 F.2d 781, 784 (7th Cir. 1977). "If
the record contains such support [it] must [be] affirmed, 42
U.S.C. §405(g), unless there has been an error of
law." Garfield, supra at 607; see
also Schnoll v. Harris, 636 F.2d 1146, 1150 (7th Cir.
present matter, after consideration of the entire record, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) made the
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 22, 2013, the date the claimant became
disabled (20 CFR 404.1520(b), 404.1571 et seq.,
416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).
3. From March 22, 2013 through March 1, 2015, the period
during which the claimant was under a disability, the
claimant had the following severe impairments: degenerative
joint disease of the right hip, status post total hip
arthroplasty in April 2013, degenerative disc disease of the
lumbar spine, status post back surgery in January 2015,
osteoarthritis of the knees bilaterally and morbid obesity
(20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. From March 22, 2013 through March 1, 2015, the claimant
did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
met or medically equaled the severity of an impairment listed
in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, from March 22, 2013 through March 1,
2015, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a), in that she was capable of sitting 6 hours out of
an 8-hour workday, standing and/or walking 2 hours out of an
8-hour workday, lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling 10
lbs. frequents and occasionally throughout the workday, and
could perform work requiring occasional use of pedals and
controls with the feet. She required opportunity to alternate
postural positions every 20 minutes while remaining on task,
and was limited to occasional use of ramps and stairs, one to
two flights with rails, as well as occasional balancing,
occasional bending and stooping in addition to what is
already required to sit, occasional kneeling, occasional
crouching, no crawling, and not climbing of ropes, ladder, or
scaffolds. The claimant could perform no work on wet
surfaces, no work within close proximity to hazards of open
heights and open and dangerous machinery, and required a cane
for prolonged ambulation upon uneven surfaces.
6. From March 22, 2013 through March 1, 2015, the claimant
was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565
7. The claimant was an individual of advanced age, on the
established disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. The claimant's acquired job skills do not transfer to
other occupations with the residual functional capacity
defined above(20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).
10. From March 22, 2013 through March 1, 2015, considering
the claimant's age, education, work experience, and
residual functional capacity, there were no jobs that existed
in significant numbers in the national economy that the
claimant could have performed (20 CFR 404.156o(c), 404.1566,
416.960(c), and 416.966).
11. The claimant was under a disability, as defined in the
Social Security Act, from March 22, 2013 through March 1,
2015 (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).
12. The claimant has not developed any new impairment or
impairments since March 2, 2015, the date the claimant's
disability ended. Thus, the claimant's current severe
impairments are the same as that present from March 22, 2013
through March 1, 2015.
13. Beginning March 2, 2015, the claimant has not had an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the impairments
listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404.1594(f)(2) and 416.994(b)(5)(i)).
The objective medical record does not establish that the
severity of the claimant's impairments, individually or
in combination, ...