This social security action was submitted to the court without oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the court will grant plaintiff's motion for summary judgment or remand, deny the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment, and remand the case under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for further proceedings.
On January 25, 2006, plaintiff filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act (the Act) and for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI, alleging disability beginning on June 1, 1998. (Transcript (Tr.) at 146-157.) The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. (Tr. at 82-90, 94-106.)
Two hearings were held before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Peter F. Belli on August 15, 2008 and March 10, 2009. (Tr. at 20-40, 41-77.) Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified at the hearings. A vocational expert also testified at the second hearing. In a decision dated April 22, 2009, the ALJ found that plaintiff was not entitled to DIB or SSI benefits. (Tr. at 9-16.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2004.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 1, 2002, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: malingering, obesity, left ulnar nerve repair, and personality disorder (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 one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), including lifting, carrying, pushing, and pulling 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally, sitting for eight of eight hours with normal breaks, standing/walking two of eight hours with normal breaks and with no prolonged standing or walking, no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, occasional stooping, crouching, crawling, and kneeling, and there are no limitations in her ability to understand, remember, and carry out short, simple instructions, and she is moderately limited (i.e., more than mild but less than markedly limited and is still able to function satisfactorily) in understanding, remembering and carrying out detailed instructions, responding appropriately to work pressures in a usual work setting, and she is slightly limited in her ability to make judgments on detailed work-related decisions, responding appropriately to changes in routine work settings, and interacting appropriately with the public, supervisors, and co-workers, and she can frequently interact with the public and supervisors.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a telemarketer and answering service operator. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from April 1, 2002 through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)). (Tr. at 9-16.)
On June 26, 2009, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. at 1-3.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by ...