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Cooper v. Berryhill

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

March 7, 2018

MARIAH N. COOPER, 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 Mariah N. Cooper on February 10, 2017, and on Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 19], filed on July 19, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the July 23, 2015 decision of the Administrative Law Judge denying her claim for supplemental security income be reversed. On September 27, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and Plaintiff filed a reply on October 18, 2017. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for reversal and remands this matter for further proceedings.

         PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income on May 2, 2013, alleging disability beginning April 1, 2013, based on postpartum depression. The claim was denied initially and on reconsideration. On March 3, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Roxanne J. Kelsey (“ALJ”) held a hearing. In attendance at the hearing were Plaintiff, Plaintiff's mother, Plaintiff's attorney, and an impartial vocational expert. On July 23, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision denying benefits, making the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 2, 2013, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: depression, including post-partum depression; anxiety; bipolar disorder; headaches.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: lacks the ability to understand, remember and carry out detailed instructions because of her moderate limitations in pace, but retains the sustained concentration necessary for simple work of a routine and repetitive type; would not be able to perform work requiring a production or assembly line pace; would be able to perform work permitting a more flexible pace; should experience no more than occasional changes in the work setting.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work.
6. The claimant was born [in 1991] and was 22 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed.
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English.
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work.
9. 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.
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since May 2, 2013, the date the application was filed.

(AR 17-26).

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481. Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the Agency's decision.

         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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