United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, South Bend Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint, filed by Plaintiff
on November 2, 2015, and on Plaintiff s Social Security Brief
in Support of Remand for Further Proceedings [DE 14], filed
by Plaintiff on February 15, 2016. The Commissioner filed a
response to Plaintiff s brief on February 15, 2016, and
Plaintiff filed a reply on June 6, 2016.
November 2012, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits with the United States Social Security
Administration ("SSA"), alleging that she had
become disabled as of September 28, 2009. Plaintiff later
amended her onset date to August 22, 2010. Plaintiff s claim
was denied initially and on reconsideration. On March 24,
2014, Administrative Law Judge ("ALT') William D.
Pierson held a hearing at which Plaintiff, represented by a
non-attorney representative and an attorney, and a vocational
expert ("VE") testified. On July 11, 2014, the ALJ
issued a decision denying Plaintiff benefits on the ground
that Plaintiff was not disabled.
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 September 30, 2012.
2. The claimant had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 22, 2010, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant had the following severe impairments:
cervical degenerative disc disease; cervical and thoracic
myofascial syndrome; cervicalgia; obesity; and occiptial
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, except that she
could not climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds, and she could
only occasionally crawl, crouch, kneel, and stoop.
6. The claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. As of the alleged disability onset date, the claimant was
50 years old, which is defined as an individual closely
approaching advanced age.
8. The clamant has a limited 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 ...