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Fieleke v. Berryhill

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

August 31, 2018

MELISSA FIELEKE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff on March 27, 2017, and a Memorandum in Support of Complaint [DE 15], filed by Plaintiff on July 27, 2017. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On October 10, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response, and on October 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Procedural Background

         On December 19, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on September 1, 2012. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On December 17, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Paul R. Armstrong held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On December 24, 2015, 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.

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

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on September 30, 2013.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of September 1, 2012, through her date last insured of September 30, 2013.
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and obesity.
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did 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. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) where the claimant could lift or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, could stand or walk for six of eight hours during the workday, and could sit for six of eight hours during the workday.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 42 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date last insured.
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 the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the ...

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