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Cox v. Berryhill

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

September 7, 2017

TRINA M. COX, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting 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 Trina M. Cox on May 3, 2016, and a Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 15], filed by Plaintiff on October 31, 2016. Plaintiff requests that the January 29, 2015 decision of the Administrative Law Judge regarding her claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On December 13, 2016, the Commissioner filed a response. Plaintiff filed a reply on January 19, 2017. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income on March 7, 2013, alleging disability beginning December 1, 2012. The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge Janice M. Bruning (ALJ) on October 27, 2014. On January 29, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision, making 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 December 1, 2012, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity, lumbosacral tear, affective disorder, anxiety disorder and history of substance abuse.
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 except never climb ladders, rope or scaffolding and no more than occasionally engage in stair and ramp climbing, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, ending, twisting and crawling; and limited to simple repeated routine tasks that do not require public contact for work related purposes and no more than occasional contact with coworkers and supervisors.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born [in 1978] and was 34 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has a limited 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 ...

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