United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
SHARON L. BROWN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Sharon L. Brown on April 4, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 16], filed December
11, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On January 22, 2018, the Commissioner filed a
response, and on February 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.
For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's
request for remand.
March 21, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on August 31, 2013.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On August 3, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) William Spalo held a video hearing at
which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. On August 29, 2016, the ALJ
issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant meets the insured status of the Social
Security Act through June 30, 2019.
2. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity
during the following period: August 31, 2013 through November
2014, but there have been continuous 12-month periods during
which the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity. The findings address those periods.
3. The claimant has severe impairments: degenerative disc
disease of the cervical spine, status post surgery on the
left ankle and subsequent removal of hardware, asthma,
obesity, late effects of cerebrovascular accident, and
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one
the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to
perform light work, except: no climbing ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds; occasional climbing ramps or stairs; occasional
balancing, stooping, crouching, kneeling, and crawling;
frequent handling with the right dominant upper extremity.
Claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold and
extreme heat; avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary
irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts, and gases, as well as
poorly ventilated areas. Claimant is limited to simple,
routine, repetitive tasks, and should have only brief
superficial interaction with coworkers.
6. The claimant is unable to perform past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 51 years old, defined as an individual
closely approaching advancing age, on the alleged disability
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 claimant is
“not disabled, ” whether or not ...