United States District Court, N.D. Indiana
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) 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, 2021
2. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity
during the following periods: since June 2016 (20 CFR
404.1420(b) and 404.1571 et seq.).
3. However, there has been a continuous 12-month period
during which the claimant did not engage in substantial
4. The claimant has the following severe impairments: low
vision in the left eye; history of left knee meniscal tear
and surgery/chrondromalacia; mild obesity; depression;
bipolar II disorder; and, anxiety (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
5. 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).
6. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except: can occasionally operate foot
controls bilaterally; can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs; cannot climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds; can
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; can
avoid ordinary hazards in the workplace, such as boxes on the
floor, doors ajar, or approaching people or vehicles, can
read ordinary newspaper or book print; can read fine print;
can view a computer screen; can determine differences in the
size and shape of small objects such as screws, nuts, or
bolts; limited to performing simple, routine, and repetitive
tasks; limited to simple work-related decisions; and, limited
to tolerating occasional changes in a routine work setting.
7. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
in customer service. This work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by the
claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR
8. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from May 15, 2015, through the
date of ...