This social security action was submitted to the court without oral argument for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is granted, defendant's cross-motion is denied, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) is reversed, and the matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.
On March 22, 2007, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the Act), alleging disability beginning on October 13, 2001.*fn1 (Transcript (Tr.) at 73-76.) Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Id. at 62-72.)
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), and an administrative hearing was held before an ALJ on February 23, 2009. (Id. at 23-53.) Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testified at that hearing. In a decision issued on July 27, 2009, ALJ Joseph F. De Pietro found that plaintiff was not disabled.*fn2 (Id. at 10-22.) The ALJ entered the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 22, 2007, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative joint disease of the right ankle status post open reduction and internal fixation (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. 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 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the court finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a), with the ability to lift and/or carry 10 pounds occasionally; to stand and/or walk at least 2 hours in an 8-hour workday; and to sit, with normal breaks, for about 6 hours in an 8-hour workday. The claimant needs to elevate her feet for 15 minutes every 2 hours of the workday. In addition, the claimant is able to stoop or crouch no more than occasionally.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on May 24, 1981 and was 25 years old, which is defined as a younger individual 18-44, on the date the application was filed. (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969a).
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since March 22, 2007, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
On July 6, 2010, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's July 27, 2009 decision. (Id. at 1-5.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by ...