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White v. Astrue

December 9, 2009

DIANA L. WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

Judge Arthur J. Schwab

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. Introduction

Plaintiff, Diana White (hereinafter "Plaintiff"), brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) of the Social Security Act ("the Act"), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for supplemental security income ("SSI") and disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). Consistent with the customary practice in the Western District of Pennsylvania, the parties have submitted cross motions for summary judgment on the record developed at the administrative proceedings. After careful consideration of the Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ") Decision, the memoranda of the parties, and the entire record, the Court will grant the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and deny Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment.

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff filed an application for SSI and DIB on October 31, 2006, alleging disability beginning on June 1, 2005. R. at 94-96. Plaintiff's claim was denied on March 8, 2007 and she thereafter requested a hearing. R. at 81-88 The hearing was held on June 26, 2008 before ALJ Douglas Cohen. R. at 7-53. Plaintiff, appearing with her disability representative, Brenda White, testified at the hearing along with the vocational expert, Karen Krull. Id.

The ALJ issued a decision on August 14, 2008, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. R. at 66-80. The ALJ found that Plaintiff was capable of performing sedentary work with limitations. Id. The ALJ found that Plaintiff could perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy such as a surveillance system monitor, packer, and receptionist. Id. On May 22, 2009, the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's decision, thus becoming the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff then filed her complaint herein seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision.

R. at 1-4.

III. Statement of the Case

In the decision dated August 14, 2008, the ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2010.

2. The claimant has not engaged in "substantial gainful activity" since June 1, 2005, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1520 (b), 404.1571 et seq).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: small fiber neuropathy (Sjogrens syndrom/lupus), sleep apnea, asthma, major depressive disorder, personality disorder, left knee degenerative joint disease, and cervical disorder (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R.404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) except she requires a sit/stand option. The claimant can rarely (1-10%) climb (ramps and stairs only), stoop, crouch, crawl, kneel, and balance. She cannot perform repetitive operations of foot/hand controls. The claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, odors, gases, environment with poor ventilation, temperature extremes, dampness, and humidity. She is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks, not performed in a fast-paced production environment, involving only simple, work-related decisions, and in general, relatively few work place changes. The claimant cannot perform occupations requiring contact with liquids.

6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).

7. The claimant was born on February 15, 1959, and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1563).

8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564).

9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1568).

10. 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 C.F.R. 404.1560(c) and 404.1566).

11. The claimant has not been under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, from June 1, 2005, through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(g)).

R. at 66-80.

IV. Standards of ...


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