United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
J. FREDERICK MOTZ, District Judge.
Plaintiff, Angela Phillips ("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. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 8) will be GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART, the Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment (Docket No. 10) will be DENIED, and the case will be REMANDED to the Commissioner for further proceedings.
II. Procedural History
In January 2011, Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI. R. 187-206. The applications were denied on June 2, 2011. R. 93-100. Plaintiff filed a timely request for an administrative hearing. R. 103-04. Administrative Law Judge David F. Brash ("ALJ") held hearings on June 13, 2012, (where Plaintiff failed to appear) and October 2, 2012. R. 148-49, 31-77. Plaintiff appeared with counsel at the second hearing and testified on her own behalf. R. 31-65. An impartial vocational expert ("VE") also testified at the hearing. R. 31-77.
III. Statement of the Case
In a decision dated October 15, 2012, the ALJ made the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 30, 2009, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder with agoraphobia, personality disorder, and polysubstance dependency. (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 a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she can never climb a ladder, rope, or scaffold; she must avoid all exposure to unprotected heights, dangerous machinery, and like workplace hazards; she is limited to understanding, remembering, and carrying out simple instructions and performing simple, routine tasks; she is limited to no work-related interaction with the public, occasional and superficial interaction with co-workers, and only occasional interaction with supervisors, such that her work would be essentially isolated; and she is limited to a low stress work environment, which means no production rate pace work, but, rather, goal oriented work with only occasional and routine changes in the work setting.
6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on September 21, 1986 and was 22 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability ...