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Woods v. Saul

United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division

August 5, 2019

ALLEN WOODS, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Allen Woods, Jr., on March 27, 2018, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 17], filed August 9, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On August 24, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On February 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on November 29, 2014. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon consideration. On December 16, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Diane S. Davis held a video hearing, at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On March 29, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         The ALJ made the following findings under the required five-step analysis:

1. The claimant's date last insured is December 31, 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 29, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus with associated neuropathy, a combination of cervical radiculopathy and degenerative joint disease of the right shoulder, and a heroin use disorder.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(c) except that he is further limited to work which avoids concentrated exposure to hazards and can occasionally reach overhead with the dominant right upper extremity, with no limitation involving the left upper extremity.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born on November 9, 1957 and was 57 years old, which is defined as an individual of advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has a limited 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, ” ...

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