United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
William C. Lee, Judge United States District Court.
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) 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 U.S.C. §405(g).
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 most recent favorable medical decision finding that
the claimant was disabled is the determination dated
September 9, 2009. This is known as the “comparison
point decision” or CPD.
2. At the time of the CPD, the claimant had the following
medically determinable impairments: vascular insufficiency
and morbid obesity. These impairments were found to meet
section 4.11A of 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20
3. Since the CPD, the claimant has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity (20 CFR 404.1594(f)(1)).
4. Since February 28, 2013, the claimant has not had an
impairment or combination of impairments which has met or
medically equaled the severity of an impairment listed in 20
CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525 and
5. Medical improvement occurred as of February 28, 2013 (20
6. The medical improvement is related to the ability to work
because, since February 28, 2013, the claimant's CPD
impairments have no longer met or medically equaled the same
listing that was met at the time of the CPD (20 CFR
7. Since February 28, 2013, the claimant has had the
following severe impairments: morbid obesity and
osteoarthritis in both knees (20 CFR 404.1594(f)(6).
8. Since February 28, 2013, the claimant has had the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except that she is not able to climb ladders,
ropes, or scaffolds and she is only occasionally able to
climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and
9. Since February 28, 2013, the claimant has been capable of
performing some of her past relevant ...