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Visinaiz v. Berryhill

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

March 20, 2017

SHEILA A. VISINAIZ, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, 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 Plaintiff Sheila A. Visiniaz on February 3, 2016, and a Plaintiff's Memorandum in Support of Her Motion to Reverse the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 16], filed by Plaintiff on August 4, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On November 8, 2016, the Commissioner filed a response, and on December 6, 2016, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits and for supplemental security income alleging that she became disabled on August 15, 2012. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On June 23, 2014, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Rebecca LaRiccia held a hearing via video conference at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On August 13, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.

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

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 15, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant had severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, joint dysfunction, diabetes, hypertension, emphysema, and obesity.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals any of the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she can lift, carry, push and pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. She can sit six hours and stand/walk two hours in an eight hour workday but must use a cane for ambulation. The claimant can frequently balance and occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, reach overhead and climb ramps or stairs but never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme heat/cold, wetness, humidity, and pulmonary irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, and poor ventilation. The claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to workplace hazards such as slippery uneven surfaces and unprotected heights.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 44 years old, defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age 45-49.
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 the Medical-Vocational Rules support a finding ...

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