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Guyton v. Saul

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

August 29, 2019

MATTHEW PETER GUYTON, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Matthew Peter Guyton on June 25, 2018, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed December 26, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On February 25, 2019, the Commissioner filed a response, and on March 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On March 28, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that he became disabled on December 31, 2010. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On November 21, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Deborah E. Ellis 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 has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 28, 2014, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease, depression, and bipolar disorder.
3. 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.
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(c) except that he could stand and walk for two hours in an eight-hour workday. He can occasionally climb ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. He can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He can occasionally interact with the general public. The claimant can engage in simple, routine work as to understanding and carrying out instructions.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed and subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age.
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English.
8. 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 skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...

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