United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
MICHAEL A. HARNEY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Michael A. Harney on April 28, 2017, and on an
Opening Brief [DE 13], filed by Plaintiff on September 19,
2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On October 30, 2017, Defendant filed a response,
and on November 10, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the
following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request
8, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for disability
insurance benefits alleging that he was disabled starting on
July 3, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied
initially and upon reconsideration. On November 10, 2015,
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) George Michael
Gaffaney held a hearing at which Plaintiff, represented by
counsel, appeared and testified. Plaintiff's wife and a
vocational expert (“VE”) also testified. On
December 28, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
Plaintiff was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 3, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
post-status bilateral knee surgery; frozen left ankle
(congenital); and obesity.
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,
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work, lifting twenty pounds occasionally and
ten pounds frequently, except that he can only stand and walk
for two hours in an eight-hour work day and can sit for six
hours in an eight-hour work day and requires a cane to
ambulate. In addition, he can never climb ladders, kneel,
crouch, or crawl; he can occasionally climb stairs, stoop,
and balance; and he must avoid all exposure to hazards.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 38 years of age, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-49, on his alleged disability onset
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
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 ...