Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her applications for Disability Income Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act"), respectively. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants plaintiff's motion for summary judgment, denies the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment, and remands the case for further proceedings.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
Plaintiff, Patricia Jackson, filed an application for disability benefits on May 18, 2007 and an application for supplemental security income on May 23, 2007, alleging that she had been disabled since July 1, 2006. Administrative Record ("AR") 15, 397, 433. Plaintiff's application was initially denied on September 28, 2007, and upon reconsideration on August 15, 2008. Id. at 15, 398. Plaintiff also applied for Disabled Widows benefits on December 19, 2008. Id. at 399-400. On July 1, 2009, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Laura Speck Havens. Id. at 15, 429. Plaintiff, who was represented by attorney Roopen Parekh, testified at the hearing. Id. at 432-442.
On October 30, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff
was not disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Act.*fn1
AR at 29. The ALJ made the following specific findings
(citations to C.F.R. omitted):
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2012. ////
2. It was previously found that the claimant is the unmarried widow of the deceased insured worker and attained the age of 50. The claimant met the non-disability requirements for disabled widow's benefits set forth in section 202(c) of the Social Security Act.
3. The prescribed period ends on September 30, 2015.
4. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 2006, the alleged onset date.
5. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disk disease, shoulder impingement; depression and obesity.
6. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments listed in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
7. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she can lift or carry up to 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently. She can sit, stand or walk up to 6 hours and requires a sit/stand option. She can occasionally climb, stoop, kneel, crouch or crawl (Exhibit 9F). She can only occasionally reach overhead with the right upper extremity. She should avoid concentrated exposure to vibrations and dust, fumes and smoke. She has a fair ability to deal with the public, maintain attention and concentration, and carry out complex and detailed job instructions.
8. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
9. The claimant was born on October 28, 1958 and was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability date. The claimant subsequently changed ...