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Shepard v. Berryhill

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

February 19, 2019

KORRY DEANDRE SHEPARD, 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 on October 26, 2017, and Plaintiff's Brief in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner of Social Security [DE 18], filed July 2, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On August 16, 2018, the Commissioner filed a response, and on February 26, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply.

         I. Procedural Background

         On April 7, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging that she became disabled on October 1, 2008. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On July 25, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Deborah E. Ellis held a video hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney representative, a medical expert (“ME”) and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On September 28, 2016, 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 met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2009.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2008, the alleged onset date.
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: dysfunction of major joints (hips), ankylosing spondylitis, and osteitis condensans.
4. 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. The claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform less than the full range of sedentary work. He can lift/carry 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently. He can stand/walk 2 hours in an 8-hour workday. He can sit 6 hours. He cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, or crawl. He can push/pull as much as he can lift/carry. He can occasionally push/pull or operate foot controls with the lower extremities. He utilizes a cane to ambulate. He must change positions every 45 minutes if necessary. As a result, he would be off task a total of up to 15% of the workday. He would be absent from work one day per month.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 22 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date.
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 the ...

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