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Youghbor v. Berryhill

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

August 10, 2018

CLARETTHA YOUGHBOR, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Clarettha Youghbor on May 5, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 13], filed by Plaintiff on October 25, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for benefits or further proceedings. On November 9, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on December 15, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Procedural Background

         On November 1, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on June 6, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On October 1, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Joel G. Fina held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, a vocational expert, and a medical expert testified. On December 17, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.

         The ALJ made the following findings under the required five-step analysis:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 6, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, degenerative joint disease of the right shoulder, osteoarthritis of the right thumb, and obesity.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals any of the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work, except that the claimant can only lift up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, can sit up to six hours of an eight-hour workday, and can stand and/or walk up to six hours of an eight-hour workday. The claimant should not kneel, crawl, or climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She can frequently crouch, stoop, balance, and climb ramps or stairs. The claimant is limited to frequent reaching, handling (defined as gross manipulation), and fingering (defined as fine manipulations) with the right upper extremity. She should avoid concentrated exposure to large moving machinery, and all exposure to unprotected heights.
6. The claimant is unable to perform past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 48 years old, defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age.
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 ...

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