United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Nicole Lucas on February 23, 2018, and
Plaintiff's Social Security Opening Brief [DE 21], filed
October 1, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On December 11, 2018, the Commissioner filed a
response, and on January 14, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply.
August 18, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on August 1, 2010.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On March 21, 2017, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Edward Kristof held a hearing, at which
Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. At the hearing, Plaintiff
requested that her alleged onset date be amended to June 30,
2014. On August 1, 2017, 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 requirements of
the Social Security Act on June 30, 2016.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her amended alleged onset
date of June 30, 2014 through her date last insured of June
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus with neuropathy, retinopathy with left
retinal detachment, history of deep vein thrombosis and
hypertension, arthritis of the hip, anemia, and morbid
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met 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 (RFC) to lift and carry up to 20
pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently, stand and/or walk
about 2 hours in an 8-hour workday, and sit about 6 hours in
an 8-hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant must be
allowed the option to change positions from sitting to
standing and vice-versa every 30 minutes while remaining at
her workstation. She must never climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds, crawl, or crouch, can rarely use stairs, and only
with a hand-rail, and occasionally climb ramps, balance and
kneel. The claimant has no vision in her left eye. Her right
eye retains the visual acuity of 20/30, so a significant
reduction in depth perception, and a reduced peripheral
vision to the left must be accommodated in her work. She must
avoid all exposure to unprotected heights, hazardous
machinery, and she cannot operate a motorized vehicle.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 36 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-49, on the date last insured.
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