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Pichey v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division

November 4, 2016

PAMELA ANN PICHEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          KEVIN H. SHARP, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Pending before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 16). The motion has been fully briefed by the parties.

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for disability insurance under Title II and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), as provided by the Social Security Act (“the Act”). Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the Court finds that the Commissioner's determination that Plaintiff is not disabled under the Act is supported by substantial evidence in the record as required by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff's motion will be denied.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed a Title II application for disability insurance and a Title XVI application for Supplemental Security Income on November 23, 2011, alleging disability as of September 24, 2011. (Tr. 151-161). The claims were denied at the initial level on March 6, 2012 and on reconsideration on May 1, 2012. (Tr. 89-96, 102-109). Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a written Request for Hearing on June 8, 2012. (Tr. 110-111). A video hearing was held on October 1, 2013. (Tr. 16). On March 4, 2014, the Administrative Law Judge issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 13-31). Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of Hearing Decision on April 19, 2014. (Tr. 12). The Appeals Council denied her request for review on June 9, 2015. (Tr. 1-4). See (Docket Entry No. 17 at 1). This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on March 4, 2014. (AR p. 13). Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2011.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity, since September 24, 2011, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and degenerative joint disease (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
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 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). Specifically, the claimant is able to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently and stand, walk, and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour day except that the claimant can perform unlimited pushing/pulling (including hand and foot controls) within external limitations. She can frequently climb, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant can occasionally perform balancing and stooping. She has no manipulative, visual, communicative, or environmental limitations.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a waitress and cleaner. This work does not require the performance work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from September 24, 2011, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)).

(AR pp. 18-25).

         III. REVIEW OF THE RECORD

         The following summary of the evidence of record is taken from Plaintiff's brief, Docket Entry No. 17 at pp. 2, 10).

Pamela Pichey is a 42 year old woman with a 12th grade education. (Tr. 44). She became unable to work on September 24, 2011 because of the following severe impairments: back pain, migraines, anxiety, knee problems, and heart problems. Ms. Pichey worked as a cook, house cleaner, factory laborer, and in a restaurant. (Tr. 44). She stopped working in 2008 due to her combined impairments.
***
Pamela Pichey testified that she last worked in 2009 as a housekeeper. She had to stop working due to back pain. She had been diagnosed with scoliosis, disc issues, fluid on the knees bilaterally, right elbow pain and migraines. She had trouble standing more than 30 minutes at a time and had to use a cane to ambulate. She rated her pain a 6 of 10. Medications were used to ease her pain. She spends her days lying down, doing housework, watching television and reading. (Tr. 46-58).

         IV. DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

         A. ...


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