United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
CONNER, C. J.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
F. SAPORITO, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michelle Lee Jastrzebski, is seeking judicial review of the
final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
("Commissioner") denying her claims for disability
insurance benefits and supplemental security income under
Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. Jurisdiction is
conferred on this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g)
and 42 U.S.C. §1383(c)(3).
matter has been referred to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge to prepare a report and recommended
disposition pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C.
§636(b) and Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure. For the reasons expressed herein, we have found
that the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security is supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly,
it is recommended that the final decision of the Commissioner
denying Jastrzebski's claims for benefits be
AFFIRMED, and that Jastrzebski 's
request for a new hearing or award of benefits be
Background and Procedural History
is an adult individual, born on January 11, 1980. Jastrzebski
was thirty one years of age at the time of her alleged onset
of disability, which made her a "younger person"
under the Commissioner's regulations whose age generally
does not affect her ability to adjust to other work.
Jastrzebski resides in Hazleton which is in the Middle
District of Pennsylvania.
19, 2013, Jastrzebski protectively filed her application for
benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.
In both applications, she alleged that she became disabled on
November 11, 2011. (Tr. 23). Jastrzebski's alleged
impairments included: fibromyalgia, joint pain, painful
muscles, chronic pain syndrome, trouble concentrating and
completing tasks, chronic fatigue, sleep apnea, insomnia,
anxiety disorder, moderate major depression, memory problems,
waking unrefreshed, trouble maintaining social functions,
paresthesias, restless leg syndrome, headaches, blurred
vision, lumbar scoliosis. (Tr. 164-165, and 214). Her claims
were initially denied on December 7, 2013. On January 17,
2014, Jastrzebski filed a written request for an
administrative hearing. Her request was granted. On March 10,
2015, Jastrzebski appeared and testified at a hearing before
Administrative Law Judge Timothy Wing. Plaintiff was
represented by her attorney, Andrew J. Primerano.
Additionally, Vocational Expert Nadine Henzes (the
"VE") also appeared and testified. (Tr. 23).
has filed prior applications for Title II and Title XVI
benefits in June 2007 and September 2011. The ALJ found no
basis upon which to reopen the determinations on the prior
applications. Accordingly, the previous determinations are
final and binding in regard to the applications. Therefore,
the issue of disability is res judicata as this
matter involves the same parties and legal questions. The
current application will only consider the time period from
October 20, 2012 forward, or from the date of her last
Administrative Law Judge decision regarding disability. With
regard to supplemental security income, the ALJ looked at the
evidence from July 19, 2013, forward.
March 27, 2015, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision in
which he concluded that, considering Jastrzebski's age,
education, work experience, and residual functional capacity,
she is capable of performing past relevant work and in
addition, there are jobs that she can perform that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy. Jastrzebski then
filed a timely complaint on November 3, 2016, in this court.
(Doc. 1). The Commissioner's timely answer to the
complaint was filed January 17, 2017. (Doc. 8). This matter
has been fully briefed by the parties and is ripe for a
decision. (Doc. 10, 11).
Statement of Facts
plaintiff was born on January 11, 1980, and at the time of
her administrative hearing she was thirty-four years of age.
(Tr. 44). She completed an 11th grade education.
(Tr. 45). Jastrzebski previously worked as an auto detailer,
stock clerk, and laborer. She claimed that her fibromyalgia,
neck pain, leg pain, shoulder blade pain, and pain that runs
down her arms along with pain in her fingers, prevent her
from working. She stated that the pain is constant. (Tr. 46,
stated that there are weeks when she has three to four bad
days consecutively. (Tr. 47). She stated that on those days
the only time she gets up is to use the bathroom. (Tr. 48).
stated that a good day is when she is able to bathe, brush
her teeth, and comb her hair. (Tr. 49).
stated she occasionally goes outside for a walk, or to pick
up medicine. (Tr. 49, 50). She stated that walking around the
block would require her to stop every couple minutes. She
stated that she could walk approximately 25 feet before she
would have to stop and rest. (Tr. 59). She stated that if she
took her daughter with her on the walk, someone would have to
join them because if her daughter was to run off, she would
be unable to chase after her. (Tr. 50, 51). Jastrzebski uses
a walker. (Tr. 4).
stated that she does not usually grocery shop, but if she
forced to shop, she just goes in and out of the grocery store
quickly. (Tr. 52). Jastrzebski stated that she has not driven
since her last panic attack which was approximately several
month prior to her hearing. (Tr. 52).
stated that her pain is in her shoulder blades, arms, knees,
thighs, buttocks, and fingers. She has numbness and tingling
in her hands and feet. She has difficulty grasping things.
(Tr. 61). She stated that she experiences muscle spasms every
day and has difficulty lifting even small items. She also has
difficulty sitting and standing. (Tr. 5). Jastrzebski stated
that she gets headaches a few times a day, and has to lie
down and turn off the lights for relief. (Tr. 63).
stated that Keith, the father of her minor child, Kyra, takes
care of Kyra. Approximately four times per week, her mother
comes to help her with childcare, and at times Keith takes
Kyra to his stepmother. (Tr. 61).
stated that her medication causes her drowsiness, blurred
vision, dizziness, and difficulty sleeping. (Tr. 58).
involved in an automobile accident in November 2014. She
claimed that her neck pain has worsened since that time. (Tr.
record indicates that Jastrzebski was being treated by
Cynthia L. Lubinsky, DO, for fibromyalgia, anxiety, chronic
pain syndrome, and moderate depression in November 2012. (Tr.
357-382). She complained of chest pain and was referred to
cardiology in January 2013. By May 2013, she had tried a
variety of medications without success. In July 2013, she was
reporting frequent headaches. In September 2013, she
described the pain, as someone or something eating at her
bones, although her physical examination was normal. (Tr.
357-382). She was taking Lyrica and Xanax.' She was seen
for a second time at the Sleep Medicine Outpatient Clinic on
November 5, 2013. (Tr. 500-06). She had a score of 21/24 on
the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. (Tr. 505).
seen on January 7, 2013, for a cardiac evaluation. She was
seen again on January 30, 2013, and continued to complain of
chest pain and lightheadedness about 5 times a day, lasting
only about 5 minutes. Her exercise treadmill stress test and
echocardiogram were normal. (Tr. 342-47). There was no
cardiac etiology for her symptoms. (Tr. 348).
Cronauer at Eyeland Optometric Group saw her on August 7,
2013. She had 20/20 visual acuity at both near and distance
testing with otherwise normal examination. Her diagnosis was