United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
P. KOLAR MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Martina Esquibel on May 31, 2018, and
Plaintiff's Social Security Brief in Support of Remand
for Further Proceedings [DE 15], filed on October 8, 2018.
Plaintiff requests that the May 31, 2017 decision of the
Administrative Law Judge denying her claim for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings. On February 7,
2019, the Commissioner filed a response. Plaintiff has not
filed a reply brief, and the time to do so has passed. For
the following reasons, the Court denies Plaintiff's
request for remand and affirms the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration.
February 21, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits, and, on January 13, 2015,
Plaintiff protectively filed an application for supplemental
security income. Plaintiff alleges a disability onset date of
July 15, 2014. The claims were denied initially and on
reconsideration. Plaintiff requested a hearing, and the
hearing was held on January 25, 2017. On May 3, 2017, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision, making the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 15, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: mild
dextroscoliosis of the thoracic spine and mild to moderate
degenerative disc disease (DDD) of the lumbar spine; left
knee MCL injury; longstanding asthma with current mild
nocturnal hypoxemia requiring nocturnal supplemental oxygen
(O2); bilateral hammer toes/hallux valgus/bunions; obesity;
and chronic pain syndrome.
4. 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,
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the [ALJ
found] that the claimant has the residual functional capacity
to perform light work with standing and/or walking two hours
in an eight-hour workday and with sitting the remainder of
the day, as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b)
except as reduced by the following. Additional limitations
include occasional climbing of ramps/stairs, balancing,
stooping, kneeling, and crouch[ing], but no crawling or
climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. Finally, the
claimant should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme
cold/heat and to wetness, humidity, fumes, dusts, gases, poor
ventilation, as well as wet, slippery or uneven surfaces,
unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was born [in 1970] and was 44 years old,
which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the
alleged disability onset date.
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English.
9. 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.
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from July 15, 2014, through the
date of this decision.
(AR 114-22). The ALJ found that Plaintiff stopped working in
2014 because she moved from the State of Texas to the State
of Indiana and not because of her ongoing alleged medical
conditions. (AR 117, 223).
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
leaving the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981,
416.1481. Plaintiff filed this civil action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the Agency's decision.
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
this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and 42 U.S.C.