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Gassion v. Berryhill

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

February 19, 2019

WILMA J. GASSION, 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 Wilma J. Gassion, and Plaintiff's Opening Memorandum in Support of Reversing the Decision of the Commissioner [DE 18], filed June 6, 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 July 25, 2018, Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's request for remand.

         I. Background

         On October 3, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits alleging disability beginning January 5, 2012. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. On October 20, 2016, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Michelle Whetsel held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On April 27, 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 last met insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period of her alleged onset date of January 5, 2012, through her date last insured of December 31, 2014.
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine, fibromyalgia, degenerative joint disease of the left knee, arthritis of the right hip, headaches, and obesity.
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled 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 light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that she could occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, but could occasionally balance and stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl. The claimant could occasionally operate foot controls and push/pull with the bilateral lower extremities. She should avoid concentrated exposure to fumes, dusts, odors, gases and poor ventilation.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a payroll clerk and as a payroll coordinator. This work did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residential functional capacity.
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from January 5, 2012, the alleged onset date, through December 31, 2014, the date last insured.

         The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.

         The parties filed forms of consent to have this case assigned to a United States Magistrate Judge to conduct all further proceedings and to order the entry of a final judgment in this case. Therefore, this Court has jurisdiction to decide ...


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