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Crystal Nicole Smith- Schaeffer v. Commissioner of Social Security

May 10, 2013

CRYSTAL NICOLE SMITH- SCHAEFFER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
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

Crystal Nicole Smith-Schaeffer ("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 supplemental security income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 -- 1383f ("Act"). This matter comes before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment. (ECF Nos. 11, 13). The record has been developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment will be GRANTED, in part, and DENIED, in part, and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment will be DENIED.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed for SSI with the Social Security Administration on June 1, 2009, claiming an inability to work due to disability beginning September 1, 2003. (R. at 70 -- 76)*fn1 . At that time, Plaintiff claimed to be unable to work as a result of intellectual deficits. (R. at 86). Plaintiff was initially denied benefits on August 28, 2009. (R. at 27 -- 30). A hearing was scheduled for December 10, 2010. (R. at 19 -- 24). Plaintiff did not appear to testify. (R. at 19 -- 24). Her attorney did not show cause for her absence. (R. at 19 -- 24). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") thereafter issued a decision denying benefits to Plaintiff on February 4, 2011. (R. at 7 -- 18). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council, which request was denied on August 9, 2012, thereby making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner. (R. at 1 -- 5).

Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this Court on September 25, 2012. (ECF No. 3). Defendant filed an Answer on January 8, 2013. (ECF No. 6). Cross-motions for summary judgment followed.

III. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

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

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 19, 2009, the application date;

2. The claimant has the following severe impairment: mental retardation; 3. 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;

4. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: the claimant is limited to unskilled work;

5. The claimant has no past relevant work;

6. The claimant was born on September 19, 1983 and was 25 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18 -- 49, on the date the application was filed;

7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English; 8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work;

9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national ...


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