United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Brandon McNeal on December 4, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 15], filed by
Plaintiff on January 31, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and
remanded for benefits or further proceedings. On March 6,
2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on April 5,
2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.
November 8, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that he became disabled on January 20, 2012.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On March 16, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Howard Kauffman held a video hearing at
which Plaintiff and a vocational expert testified. Plaintiff
was unrepresented and waived his right to counsel. On March
30, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff
was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on June 30, 2015.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
January 20, 2012, through June 30, 2015, his date last
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: degenerative joint disease of
the bilateral knees, status post bilateral total knee
replacements, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine,
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 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except that
he can only occasionally climb ramps and stairs and
occasionally balance, stoop, and kneel. He can never crouch
or crawl and never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 44 years old, defined as a younger
individual age 18-44, on the date last insured. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age
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, ” ...