United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN, MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff on August 25, 2015, and on Plaintiff's Brief in
Support of Her Motion to Reverse the Decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security [DE 17], filed by Plaintiff
on December 11, 2015. The Commissioner filed a response to
Plaintiff's brief on March 21, 2016, and Plaintiff filed
a reply on March 31, 2016.
February 2014, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits with the United States Social Security
Administration (“SSA”), alleging that she had
become disabled as of October 14, 2013. Plaintiff's claim
was denied initially and on reconsideration. On February 11,
2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Jessica
Inouye held a hearing at which Plaintiff, represented by
counsel, and a vocational expert (“VE”)
testified. On April 24, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision
denying Plaintiff benefits on the ground that Plaintiff was
opinion, the ALJ made the following findings under the
required five-step analysis:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 14, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant had the following severe impairments: right
shoulder; degenerative joint disease, rotator cuff disease,
and impingement syndrome; cervical and lumbar spine
degenerative disease; obesity; sarcoidosis and asthma;
obstructive sleep apnea; mild mitral regurgitation and
pulmonary hypertension; major depressive disorder; and
generalized anxiety disorder.
4. 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.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work in that she could
sit for a total of six hours and stand or walk in combination
for a total of six hours in an eight-hour work day with
normal breaks. The claimant could lift and carry up to twenty
pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. The claimant
could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, and could
occasionally climb ramps and stairs. The claimant could
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The
claimant needed to avoid concentrated exposure to hazards of
moving dangerous machinery and unprotected heights. The
claimant needed also to avoid concentrated exposure to
pulmonary irritants, extreme temperatures, humidity, and
wetness. The claimant could occasionally push, pull, and
reach overhead with her right upper extremity. The claimant
could understand, remember, and perform simple, repetitive
tasks. The claimant could never work with the general public,
but could communicate and relate to coworkers and
supervisors, and make ordinary work decisions with no
over-the-shoulder, intense supervision.
6. The claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. As of the alleged disability onset date, the claimant was
fifty-one years old, which is defined as an individual
closely approaching advanced age.
8. The clamant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
9. Transferability of job skills was immaterial to the
disability determination because Plaintiff was “not
disabled” under the Medical-Vocational rules
irrespective of whether she had 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 the claimant can perform.
11. The claimant had not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from October 14, 2013, through
the date of the ALJ's decision.
6, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final
decision of the Commissioner. On August 25, 2015, Plaintiff
filed the underlying Complaint seeking reversal of the
adverse SSA determination.
parties consented 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