United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
DANITA L. MILLER, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
MAGISTRATE JUDGE JOHN E. MARTIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Danita L. Miller, and Plaintiff's Opening Brief
[DE 17], filed November 27, 2018. Plaintiff requests that the
decision of the Administrative Law Judge be reversed and
remanded for further proceedings. On March 7, 2019, the
Commissioner filed a response, and on March 25, 2019,
Plaintiff filed a reply. For the following reasons, the Court
grants Plaintiff's request for remand.
September 6, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for
benefits alleging disability beginning November 27, 2012. On
July 31, 2015, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Martin McClelland issued a decision denying benefits, and the
Appeals Council denied review. On May 25, 2017, this Court
issued an Opinion and Order reversing the ALJ's decision
and remanding the matter for further proceedings, pursuant to
the parties' agreement. On January 17, 2018, ALJ Michelle
Whetsel held a hearing at which Plaintiff, with an attorney,
and a vocational expert (“VE”) testified. On
March 7, 2018, 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 through September 30, 2013.
2. The claimant did not engaged in substantial gainful
activity during the period of her alleged onset date of
November 27, 2012 through her date last insured of September
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: obesity, arthritis in lumbar
spine, arthritis in the ankles bilaterally, seizure disorder,
anxiety, depression, and migraine headaches.
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 the listed impairments
in 20 CFR 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. She could
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. She had
to avoid concentrated exposure to extreme heat, extreme cold,
noise at the DOT 4 level (loud), vibration, fumes, dusts,
odors, gases, poor ventilation, as well as hazards such as
moving machinery, unprotected heights, and wet, slippery, or
uneven surfaces. She could frequently push and pull and
operate foot controls bilaterally. She could remember and
follow simple but not detailed instructions. She could
perform the tasks assigned, but not always at a production
rate pace; however, she could have met the end of day work
goals. She could have occasional contact with co-workers,
supervisors, and the general public. She could have
occasionally adapted to rapid changes in the workplace.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 52 years old, which is defined as an
individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date last
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 using the
Medical-Vocational rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether ...