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Beaver v. Berryhill

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

September 14, 2018

DONNA M. BEAVER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          JOHN E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Donna M. Beaver on August 30, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 16], filed on February 12, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On March 15, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on April 6, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On July 2, 2010, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on July 28, 2018. On March 17, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Romona Scales issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled, and Plaintiff appealed the decision. On September 26, 2014, this Court issued an opinion and order reversing and remanding the ALJ's decision, and the Appeals Council remanded the matter to the ALJ. On April 7, 2015, ALJ William E. Sampson held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On March 9, 2016, the ALJ issued a second decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.

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

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2015.
2. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity from November 2013 through September 2014.
3. As there has been a continuous 12-month period(s) during which the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity, the findings address the period(s) the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity.
4. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease; lupus/Sjogren's Syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
5. 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, Appendix 1.
6. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally, and 10 pounds frequently; sit for 6 hours in an 8 hour work day; and stand and/or walk 6 hours in an 8 hour work day. The claimant should not climb ropes, ladders, or scaffolds; but can occasionally climb ramps and stairs; and occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extremes of heat and cold, as well as breathing irritants such as fumes, odors, dusts and gases; and hazards, such as dangerous moving machinery and unprotected heights.
7. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a district manager and clerk. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.
8. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 28, 2008, through the date of this decision.

         The Appeals Councils denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the ...


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