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Sharp v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

March 4, 2015

SERENA R. SHARP, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Defendant.

ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW

DENISE K. LaRUE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Serena R. Sharp ("Sharp") requests judicial review of the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying Sharp's application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's decision is REVERSED and REMANDED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Sharp filed applications for DIB and SSI in April 2011, alleging an onset of disability of September 3, 2008. [Dkt. 17-2 at 13.] Sharp subsequently amended her onset of disability date to November 13, 2010. Sharp's applications were denied initially on August 8, 2011, and upon reconsideration on December 8, 2011. [Id.] Sharp requested a hearing, which was held on September 21, 2012, before Administrative Law Judge Thomas Wang ("ALJ"). The ALJ denied Sharp's application on October 4, 2012. [Dkt. 17-2 at 11.] The Appeals Council denied Sharp's request for review of the ALJ's decision on October 11, 2013, making the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review. Sharp filed her Complaint with this Court on November 27, 2013. [Dkt. 1.]

B. Factual Background and Medical History

Sharp was born on December 19, 1967 and was 44 years old on the date of the hearing. Sharp has an eleventh grade education. She has past relevant work as a fast food cashier and short order cook. Although her most recent substantial gainful activity was a fast food position at Meijer in 1999, Sharp has held multiple short term jobs including retail cashier, telemarketer and home health worker. She testified that she is unable to work due to shooting pain in her back and right hip as well as urinary pain and bladder spasms. The ALJ found Sharp suffers from the severe impairments of obesity, interstitial cystitis, degenerative disc disease, migraines, polyarthralgia and angina pectoris. As the ALJ thoroughly summarized the medical records, the Court will only cite to the portions relevant to the issues on which Sharp requests review.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard for Proving Disability

To be eligible for SSI and DIB, a claimant must show he is unable to "engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. ยง 423(d)(1)(A). To evaluate a disability claim, an ALJ must use the following five-step inquiry:

Step One: Is the claimant currently employed;
Step Two: Does the claimant have a severe impairment or combination of impairments;
Step Three: Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal any impairment listed in the regulations as being so severe as to ...

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