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Henderson v. Berryhill

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

January 25, 2019

NICOLE C. HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOHN E. MARTIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         This matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by Plaintiff Nicole C. Henderson on February 21, 2018, and an Opening Brief [DE 15], filed June 28, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On July 12, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on September 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Background

         On June 25, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on July 30, 2013. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On February 15, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Michelle Whetsel held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On March 22, 2017, 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 has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 25, 2014, the application date.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), hypothyroidism, and borderline diabetes.
3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of medium work, as that term is described in 20 CRF 416.967(c) except that: she can frequently climb ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, and can frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl; she can remember and follow simple, but not detailed, instructions; she can perform assigned tasks, but not always at a production rate pace, but can meet the end of day work goals; she can have occasional contact with coworkers, supervisors, and the general public; and she can occasionally adapt to rapid changes in the workplace.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
6. The claimant was 35 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 material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills.
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...

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