United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
KIMBERLY A. BESSETTE, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION RE: CROSS MOTIONS FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT (Doc. Nos. 9 and 13)
ARTHUR J. SCHWAB, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Kimberly A. Bessette ("Plaintiff"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her applications for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI"). The Parties have filed Cross Motions for Summary Judgment on the record developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 9) will be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 13) will be DENIED, and the administrative decision of the Commissioner will be REMANDED for further proceedings.
II. Procedural History
Plaintiff filed a Title II application for DIB on November 30, 2010. Plaintiff also protectively filed a Title XVI application for SSI on November 18, 2010. R. 100-109. The state agency denied both applications on May 23, 2011. R. 100-109. Plaintiff responded on July 22, 2011, by filing a timely request for an administrative hearing. R. 111-113. On September 18, 2012, a hearing was held in Erie, Pennsylvania, before Administrative Law Judge William J. Bezego ("ALJ"). Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, appeared and testified. William H. Reed, Ph.D., an impartial vocational expert ("VE"), also testified. R. 51-56.
III. Statement of the Case
In a decision dated October 5, 2012, the ALJ made the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2011.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 24, 2010, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq ., and 416.971 et seq .).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, arthritis, obesity, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. (Exhibits B5F/5). (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
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, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920 (d), 416.925, and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except with a sit/stand option at will; the claimant is limited to tasks that do not require constant or prolonged rotation, flexion, or hypertension of the neck; the claimant is limited to low stress work, which is here defined as work that involves only routine, repetitive tasks requiring no more than occasional judgment, decision making, or change in work setting; the claimant is limited to no more than occasional interaction with supervisors, coworkers, or members of the general public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on October 14, 1966 and was 43 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the alleged disability ...