United States District Court, Northern District of Indiana, Hammond Division
ALLONDA L. GALLOWAY, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL R. CHERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Allonda L. Galloway on January 27, 2014, and Plaintiff's Second Social Security Memorandum [DE 30], filed on December 15, 2014. This matter became fully briefed on February 10, 2015. Plaintiff challenges the Social Security Administration's determination that she is not disabled under the Social Security Act.
Plaintiff applied for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income on January 14, 2011, alleging that she had been disabled since February 13, 2010, as a result of nerve damage from a car accident, lower back pain, swollen hands, a torn rotator cuff, and a learning disability. Plaintiff's application was denied initially on March 14, 2011, and upon reconsideration on June 7, 2011. She then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). The hearing took place on August 28, 2012, before ALJ Henry Kramzyk. Plaintiff appeared by counsel at the hearing and the ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff, Plaintiff's sister, and Vocational Expert (VE) James Lozer. The ALJ issued a written decision denying benefits on September 10, 2012, making the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 13, 2010, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: rheumatoid arthritis, obesity, bulging disk at C5–C6, mild degenerative changes of the AC joint of her right shoulder, and mild to moderate degenerative changes of her hands.
4. 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.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a), as the claimant can lift and/or carry 10 pounds occasionally and lesser weights frequently; stand and/or walk for 2 hours; and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, but can occasionally climb ramps and stairs; and occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl. The claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to wetness, including slippery, uneven surfaces; and avoid concentrated exposure to hazards such as unprotected heights.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born in 1968 and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18–44, on the alleged disability onset date.
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, " whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills.
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that claimant can perform.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 13, 2010, through the date of this decision.
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981. On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ...