United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM C. LEE, 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 last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on June 30, 2013.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
April 14, 2012 through his date last insured of June 30, 2013
(20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: coronary artery disease;
hypertension; degenerative disc disease; obesity;
nephrolithiasis; and diabetes (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404 1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except: the
claimant could lift, carry, push and pull 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. He could stand and/or
walk for approximately 6 hours and sit for approximately 6
hours in an 8-hour workday with normal breaks and with the
option to sit or stand alternatively at will, provided that
he was not off-task more than 10% of the work period. The
claimant retained the ability to perform tasks not requiring
climbing of ropes, ladders and scaffolds but he could kneel,
crouch, crawl, balance, stoop and climb ramps and stairs
occasionally. The claimant could perform work activities that
allowed him to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold,
extreme heat, wetness, humidity, irritants such as fumes,
odors, dust, gases and poor ventilation. He could perform
tasks that involved no exposure to work-place hazards such as
dangerous, moving machinery, unprotected heights and
slippery/uneven surfaces. The claimant was limited to low
stress work, defined as requiring only occasional decision
making and involving only occasional changes in the work
setting; however, he was capable of tolerating predictable
changes in the work environment, making simple, work-related
decisions and sustaining a flexible and goal-oriented pace.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on January 26, 1965 and was 48 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date last insured (Exhibit B1D)(20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (Exhibit B2E)(20 CFR 404.1564).
9. 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 was “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant had transferable job ...