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Hall v. Astrue

January 11, 2010

WILMA HALL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Eduardo C. Robreno, J.

MEMORANDUM

Before the Court are Defendant's objections to Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge's Report and Recommendation ("R&R"). For the reasons that follow, the objections will be overruled and the Report and Recommendation will be adopted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Plaintiff was born on March 2, 1948. Plaintiff completed school through the twelfth grade and has relevant past work experience as an insurance claim adjuster/clerk, a job she held for fifteen years prior to the onset of the alleged disabilities. See Pl.'s Mot. Summ. J. 1; see also R&R 2.

Plaintiff alleges that her disability onset date is June 8, 2001, the day she stopped working at age fifty-three.

Plaintiff claims that she is disabled due to the following conditions: degenerative disc disease ("DDD") of the cervical spine, low back pain, panic disorder with agoraphobia, and major depression. See R&R at 2. Furthermore, Plaintiff alleges that sufficient medical evidence establishes her disability.

B. Procedural History

Prior to Plaintiff filing suit with this Court on December 31, 2008, she pursued the appropriate administrative avenues.*fn1 On June 12, 2006, Plaintiff filed applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). The state agency denied these applications and Plaintiff timely filed a request for hearing. Id. at 1. On April 22, 2008, Administrative Law Judge Stephen Bosch ("ALJ") held a hearing, at which Plaintiff was found "not disabled and was not entitled to receive benefits." Id.

The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision, on October 31, 2008, finalizing the Commissioner's determination to deny benefits. Plaintiff subsequently filed this complaint, on December 31, 2008, seeking reversal of the ALJ's decision. Following a motion for summary judgment by Plaintiff, this case was referred to Magistrate Judge David R. Strawbridge for a Report and Recommendation on the matter. Therein, Plaintiff requested an entry of summary judgment in her favor, ruling that "she is eligible to receive benefits," or, in the alternative, remand her case to the Commissioner for "receipt of further evidence." In response, the Commissioner opposes an award of benefits and requested an affirmation of the ALJ decision.

On July 31, 2009, Magistrate Judge Strawbridge issued a Report and Recommendation recommending that the decision of the Commissioner be vacated and the matter be remanded for review. Magistrate Judge Strawbridge found that by failing to consider Plaintiff's GAF score below 50, the ALJ did not consider "probative evidence," warranting further consideration.

II. DISCUSSION

A. Legal Standard

This Court undertakes a de novo review of the portions of the Report and Recommendation to ...


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