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Natt v. Colvin

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

March 27, 2015

GEORGE STEPHEN NATT, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting 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 George Stephen Natt on March 14, 2014, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 14], filed by Plaintiff on July 11, 2014. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On October 17, 2014, the Commissioner filed a response, and on November 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On February 4, 2011, Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") with the U.S. Social Security Administration ("SSA") alleging that he became disabled on June 1, 2005. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On November 9, 2012, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") William E. Sampson held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a Vocational Expert ("VE") testified. On December 10, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled.

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

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on December 31, 2008.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from his alleged onset date of June 1, 2005, through his date last insured of December 31, 2008 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spines, bilateral rotator cuff tears, status post bilateral rotator cuff surgeries, kidney stones, congenital short bowel syndrome with malabsorption, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, a sacral lesion, diabetes, hearing loss, vertigo, and obesity. (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the ALJ found that through the date last insured the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b), which includes the ability to lift and/or carry and push and/or pull up to 20 pounds occasionally and up to 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or walk six hours in an eight hour workday, and sit six hours in an eight hour workday. He could occasionally balance. The claimant could occasionally reach overhead bilaterally. He could occasionally operate foot controls. The claimant had to avoid concentrated exposure to excessive noise.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was 60 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching retirement age, 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. The claimant has acquired work skills from past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1568).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, the claimant had acquired work skills from past relevant work that were transferable to other occupations with jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), and 404.1568(d)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from June 1, 2005, the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2008, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

The ALJ's decision became the Commissioner's final decision when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on January 8, 2014. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. Under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), Plaintiff initiated this civil action for judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision. 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 ...


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