United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
JOHN E. MARTIN, Magistrate Judge.
This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Cathleen Miller on July 20, 2012, and an Opening Brief of Plaintiff in Social Security Appeal Pursuant to L.R. 7.3 [DE 26], filed by Plaintiff on April 5, 2013. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On August 12, 2013, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 21, 2013, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.
On October 1, 2004, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") with the U.S. Social Security Administration ("SSA") alleging that she became disabled on September 2, 2003. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Following a hearing, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Bryan J. Bernstein concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council granted Plaintiff's request for review and remanded the case to the ALJ for a new hearing and new decision. On January 21, 2011, ALJ Bernstein held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with a non-attorney representative, Plaintiff's husband, and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. On December 3, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
The ALJ made the following findings under the required five-step analysis:
1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2008.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity from her alleged onset date of September 2, 2003, through her date last insured of June 30, 2008. (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
3. The claimant had severe impairments (20 CFR 404.1250(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled any of the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of work, with a sit/stand option, no prolonged standing or walking, or standing or walking for more than fifty percent of an eight hour workday, and she could not reach extreme postures more than occasionally. The claimant could not lift or carry more than 20 pounds occasionally or 10 pounds frequently, could not engage in work demanding constant manipulation with hands or fingers, cannot work in atmospheric concentrations less comfortable than ordinary retail or commercial environments, and could not undertake work in hazardous conditions, including unprotected heights or around vehicles moving in close quarters. In addition, the claimant could not perform work that imposes close regimentation of production.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was 35 years old, defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
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 or not the claimant has transferable job skills (see SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2). work experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant could perform (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from September 2, 2003, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2008, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).
On April 10, 2012, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
The parties filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Plaintiff was 31 years old on the date of her alleged disability onset. She had a high school education. She had past work as a nurse's aide, home health aide, qualified medication ...