United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
LORI C. BRATCHER, 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 Lori Bratcher on September 27, 2017, and
Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 15], filed March 12, 2018.
Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative
Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
On April 12, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on
May 7, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following
reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.
December 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on August 31, 2011.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On August 11, 2016, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Shane McGovern held a hearing at which
Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. On September 28, 2016, the ALJ
issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant last met the insured status of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her amended onset date of
September 18, 2012, through her date last insured of December
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the severe
impairments: morbid obesity, major depressive disorder,
generalized anxiety disorder, social phobia, and a spinal
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did 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. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity to perform light work, except:
the claimant could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
was limited to occasional climbing of ramps and stairs and
occasional balancing, stooping, crouching, kneeling, and
crawling. The claimant could have no exposure to unprotected
heights or moving mechanical parts, and needed to avoid more
than occasional exposure to irritants, such as fumes, odors,
dusts, gases, or poorly ventilated areas. The claimant was
limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks free of
production rate pace. The claimant was limited to low stress
jobs, defined as not requiring her to cope with work-related
circumstances that could be dangerous to the worker or
others; she was never to have any interaction with the
public, but was capable of up to occasional interaction with
coworkers and supervisors.
6. The claimant was unable to perform past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 34 years old, defined as a younger
individual age 18-49, on the date last insured.
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 ...