United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
LARRY A. MILLER, SR., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
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 405(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 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 October 24, 2013, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
epilepsy; diabetes mellitus with peripheral neuropathy;
obesity; coronary artery disease; spine disorder; moderately
severe obstructive sleep apnea; and adjustment disorder with
depressed mood/major depressive disorder (20 CFR
4. 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 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) except: occasionally climb ramps and
stairs, but never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; avoid
exposure to unprotected heights; avoid concentrated exposure
to dangerous or hazardous machinery meaning machinery that
has exposed moving parts that are used to cut or grind and
that fails to stop when human contact is lost, or machinery
that has an open flame or hot surfaces that would burn
someone if they fell onto them (individual could work where
these types of hazards and machinery are used, but should not
operate them or pass so closely to them that they could fall
into them); should not drive motor vehicles or have his work
station in an area where motor vehicles are used (e.g.
shipping warehouse where motor vehicles come and go and the
worker loads or unloads inventory); avoid concentrated
exposure to vibrations, meaning he cannot work a job that
requires working on flooring that is vibrating or requires
working with or in close proximity to tools that are
vibrating such as an electrical drill or moving machinery
that cause concentrated vibration; and is limited to frequent
bilateral fingering and handling. The claimant can
understand, remember, and carry out rote or routine
instructions or tasks that require the exercise of little
independent judgment or decision-making and can be learned
from a short demonstration up to 30 days; cannot make
judgments or decisions for more complex or detailed types of
tasks, such as analyzing compiled data, directing or planning
others' activities, supervising employees, or performing
tasks that vary from day to day and require new learning on
an unpredictable basis; must work in a stable setting where
there is little change in terms of tools used, the processes
employed, or the setting itself, and change, where necessary,
is introduced gradually; and while all competitive employment
has production requirements, should not work in an
environment that is stringently production or quota-based,
and thus may not perform fast-paced assembly line work, but
can meet production requirements that allow him to sustain a
flexible and goal oriented pace.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on December 30, 1967 and was 45
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
45-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (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 is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job ...