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Brenda Rybarik v. Michael J. Astrue

November 26, 2012

BRENDA RYBARIK, 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

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Brenda Rybarik ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") denying her application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 -- 433 ("Act"). This matter comes before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 9, 12). The record has been developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment will be DENIED and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed for DIB with the Social Security Administration on April 22, 2008, claiming an inability to work due to disability beginning March 7, 2006. (R. at 128 -- 32)*fn1 . Plaintiff was initially denied benefits on February 20, 2009. (R. at 70 -- 80). A hearing was scheduled for June 7, 2010. (R. at 34 -- 56). Plaintiff appeared to testify, and was represented by counsel. (R. at 34 -- 56). A vocational expert also testified. (R. at 34 -- 56). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") issued his decision denying benefits to Plaintiff on July 2, 2010. (R. at 16 -- 30). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council, which request was denied on March 23, 2012, thereby making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner. (R. at 1 -- 3).

Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court on April 19, 2012. (ECF No. 1). Defendant filed his Answer on August 20, 2012. (ECF No. 5). Cross-motions for summary judgment followed.

III. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

In his decision denying DIB to Plaintiff, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2012;

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 7, 2006, the alleged onset date;

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and facet hypertrophy of the lumbar spine with associated radiculopathy, carpal tunnel syndrome, a tremor, migraines, a bipolar disorder, an anxiety disorder, and a past history of alcohol abuse;

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;

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 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) except for work which requires lifting and carrying more than 10 pounds occasionally, standing/walking more than 4 hours in an 8-hour workday, more than occasional bending, kneeling, stooping, crouching, balancing or climbing, more than simple routine repetitive tasks, more than simple, work-related decisions, any exposure to a production rate pace, or more than infrequent changes in work setting. In addition, the claimant must be afforded an option to alternate to sitting every 1/2 hour for at least 10 minutes;

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work; 7. The claimant was born on July 9, 1960, and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date.

The claimant attained age 50 within 6 months of the date of the hearing, which is defined as an individual who is "closely approaching advanced age;"

8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English;

9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because use the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled," ...


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