United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division, Lafayette
OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Vicki Rene Vogel on June 11, 2018, and
Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 21], filed December 7,
2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings. On February 15, 2019, the Commissioner filed a
response, and on February 20, 2019, Plaintiff filed a reply.
For the following reasons, the Court grants Plaintiff's
request for remand.
September 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for
benefits alleging that she became disabled on September 1,
2014. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and
upon reconsideration. On May 17, 2017, Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) Robert Long held a hearing at which
Plaintiff, with an attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) testified. On July 6, 2017, the ALJ issued
a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
made the following findings under the required five-step
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of
Social Security Act through September 30. 2019.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 1, 2014, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has severe impairments: fibromyalgia and
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine and cervical
spine with radiculopathy.
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of one
the listed impairments in 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
5. 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 6
hours in an 8-hour workday, and sit about 6 hours in an
8-hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant must never
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, or crawl, but can
occasionally climb ramps or stairs, balance, kneel, or
crouch. She is limited to only occasional exposure to wetness
and vibration, and hazards such as unprotected heights and
moving machinery. Further, the claimant must never stoop
(bend at the waist except when sitting), and is limited to
frequent use of a cane for ambulation. She is able to
frequently but not constantly handle, finger, and reach
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 51 years old, which is defined as an
individual closely approaching advanced age, 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 using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” ...