United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER
E. MARTIN MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on a Complaint [DE 1], filed by
Plaintiff Koni Renae Sult, pro se, on June 14, 2018,
and Plaintiff's Opening Brief [DE 17], filed November 26,
2018. Plaintiff requests that the decision of the
Administrative Law Judge be reversed and requests an award of
benefits. On December 27, 2018, the Commissioner filed a
response. For the reasons described below, the Court remands
this matter for further proceedings.
23, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for benefits
alleging that she became disabled on December 4, 2013.
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. On March 14, 2017, Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Romona Scales held a video hearing, at
which Plaintiff, with an attorney and a vocational expert
(“VE”), testified. On July 27, 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 the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 5, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome status post surgery;
obesity; degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar
spine status post lumbar and cervical fusions; and anxiety.
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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1.
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to lift and carry up to 10 pounds
occasionally and nominal weight frequently, stand and/or walk
for about 2 hours of an 8 hour workday and sit for about 6
hours of an 8 hour workday. She should be allowed to
alternate between sitting and standing for up to ten minutes
each hour, but would remain on task at her workstation. She
can occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, kneel and climb
ramps/stairs. She is unable to crawl or climb ladders, ropes
or scaffolds. She is occasionally able to push/pull with the
upper and lower extremities and operate foot controls. She is
unable to reach overhead bilaterally. She can frequently
handle, finger, and reach in all other directions. She is
unable to reach overhead bilaterally. She should avoid even
moderate exposure to extreme cold, vibrations, or workplace
hazards such as slipper/uneven surfaces, moving mechanical
parts, and unprotected heights. She can understand, remember,
and carry out simple routine tasks and instructions; maintain
adequate attention and concentration for such
tasks/instructions; is limited to brief and superficial
interaction with supervisors and occasional and brief
superficial interaction with the general public. She is to
avoid tasks requiring fast paced production or quotas and can
manage the changes in a routine work setting.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The claimant was 42 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset
date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to a
younger individual age 45-49.
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, ” ...