United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
JACQUELINE M. HINOJOSA, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff on June 3, 2016, and Plaintiff's Brief in
Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security [DE 16], filed on November 14, 2016.
Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative
Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
On January 18, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and
on February 7, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the
following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request
October 9, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on June 21, 2006.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On May 22, 2014, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Rebecca LaRiccia held a video hearing at
which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, a medical
expert, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified.
On October 24, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's
decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 9, 2012, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
possible systemic lupus erythematosus and gastroparesis.
3. 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,
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work with exceptions: the claimant is able
to lift 10 pounds occasionally and up to 10 pounds
frequently, stand and/or walk for up to 2 hours in an 8-hour
work period and sit up to 6 hours in an 8-hour work day. The
claimant is capable of frequent, but not constant overhead
reaching. She can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but
never ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant can
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The
claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to wetness and is
to avoid the operation of heavy machinery and unprotected
heights, and is not to work in the sun.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 32 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-44, on the date the application was
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English.
8. 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.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national ...