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Fuller v. Colvin

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

November 15, 2016

ROSETTA FULLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          PAUL R. CHERRY MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Rosetta Fuller on December 28, 2015, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 15], filed by Plaintiff on June 20, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the Court reverse the December 24, 2014 decision of the Administrative Law Judge denying her disability insurance benefits and remand for further proceedings. For the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff's request.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         On December 21, 2012, Plaintiff Rosetta Fuller filed an application for disability insurance benefits, alleging disability beginning July 11, 2012. The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. On July 29, 2014, a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Lorenzo Level. Participating in the hearing were Plaintiff, her attorney, an impartial vocational expert, and two impartial medical experts. The ALJ issued a written decision on December 24, 2014, concluding that Plaintiff was not disabled based on the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 11, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, depression and anxiety.
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 light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds and no more than occasional crawling. Claimant is limited to frequent overhead reaching. She should avoid concentrated exposure to hazards. Claimant can understand, remember and carry out simple instructions and perform simple tasks. She is limited to frequent interaction with the public, coworkers and supervisors.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born [in 1960] and was 51 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date the application was filed.
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 the claimant can perform.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 11, 2012, through the date of this decision.

(AR 20-32). Plaintiff then sought review before the Agency's Appeals Council, which denied her request on November 3, 2015, leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.981. On December 28, 2015, Plaintiff filed the Complaint in this case.

         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 ...


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