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Jones v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Tennessee, Eastern Division

March 30, 2017

TERESA GAYLE JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER AFFIRMING THE DECISION OF THE COMMISSIONER

          J. DANIEL BREEN SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Before the Court is the Social Security action of the Plaintiff, Teresa Gayle Jones, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the final decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”).

         On April 12, 2010, she applied for disability and DIB alleging disability as of July 23, 2009.

         Jones subsequently amended her onset date to May 13, 2010. The claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Following a hearing, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) K. Barlow denied her claim on January 6, 2012. Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision was denied by the Appeals Council on March 23, 2013, and this action was commenced two months later. Before the Court is the Plaintiff's first motion for judgment on the pleadings. (Docket Entry (“D.E.”) 10.)

         ADMINISTRATIVE HEARING

         The ALJ heard testimony from the Plaintiff and from Nancy Newbell Hughes, a vocational expert (“VE”). Jones had an eighth grade education and past work as a cook, cashier, stocker and machine operator. She also acted as caregiver to her disabled husband. Plaintiff told the ALJ she was unable to work because she could not tolerate being around other people. On an average day, Jones helped her mother get her handicapped brother up, prepared her husband's meals and spent the remainder of the day watching television. She reported mood swings, memory problems and anxiety. Plaintiff also suffered from deep vein thrombosis (“DVT”) in her left leg, for which she underwent surgery shortly before the hearing.

         The VE characterized Jones's previous relevant jobs as requiring medium and light levels of exertion. She opined that, assuming simple routine tasks, no exposure to the public, and occasional changes in the work environment, Plaintiff could perform jobs in the economy, including conveyor offbearer, floor waxer and box truck washer.

         ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION

         Upon hearing testimony and reviewing the evidence, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2011.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her amended alleged onset date of May 13, 2010 through her date last insured of June 30, 2011 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: history of deep vein thrombosis, major depressive disorder and adjustment disorder with depression and anxiety. (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c)[2]except that she needs simple, routine tasks with no exposure to the public and only occasional changes in the work environment.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on October 22, 1964 and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Through the dated [sic] last insured, considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant could have performed (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from May 13, 2010, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2011, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

(Administrative Record (“AR”) 14-23.)

         PLAINTIFF'S ...


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