United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
DIANN M. BENNETT, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF OPINION
A. WISEMAN, JR. SENIOR DISTRIC JUDGE
before the Court is Plaintiff Diann M. Bennett's
(“Bennett”) Motion for Judgment on the
Administrative Record (“Motion”) (Doc. No. 16),
filed with a Memorandum in Support (Doc. No. 17). Defendant
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
filed a Response in Opposition to Bennett's Motion.
(Docket No. 18.) Upon consideration of the parties'
filings and the transcript of the administrative record (Doc.
No. 10),  and for the reasons given below, the Court
will DENY the Motion.
March 5, 2008 Bennett filed an application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act, alleging a
disability onset of September 1, 2005 (the “alleged
onset date”). (A.R. 437-42.) Bennett's claim was
denied at the initial and reconsideration stages of state
agency review. (Id. at 292, 301) Bennett
subsequently requested de novo review of his case by
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
(Id. at 307.) The ALJ heard the case on August 23,
2010, when Bennett appeared, was represented by an attorney,
and gave testimony. (Id. at 219.) Testimony was also
received from an impartial vocational expert. (Id.)
At the conclusion of the hearing, the matter was taken under
advisement until September 7, 2010, when the ALJ issued a
written decision finding Bennett not disabled. (Id.
March 1, 2012 the Appeals Council issued an order remanding
the case to the ALJ. (Id. at 289.) The Appeal
Council ordered a remand to “properly address, weigh,
or give specific reasons for omitting the opinions of Ms.
Emily Rummel, a non-treating source” and give further
consideration to Bennett's RFC “during the entire
period at issue and provide rationale with specific
references to the evidence of record in support of the
assessed limitations.” (Id.) The remand order
also directed the ALJ to “obtain supplemental evidence
from a vocational expert to clarify the effect of the
assessed limitations on the claimant's occupational
base” as required. (Id. at 290.)
second hearing was held on September 19, 2012 before the same
ALJ. (Id. at 193.) On December 14, 2012, the ALJ
issued a written decision again denying Bennett's claim.
(Id.) That decision contains the following
1. Bennett meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2009.
2. Bennett has not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et
seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. Bennett has the following severe impairments: degenerative
disc disease, osteoarthritis, depression, posttraumatic
stress disorder, obesity, and diabetes (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)
4. Bennett does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. Bennett has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work as defined by 20
C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that she needs to
avoid workplace hazards such as unprotected heights and
moving machinery, she can occasionally climb ramps and
stairs, crouch, crawl, balance, stoop, or kneel; she cannot
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; she is able to stand or
walk for two to four hours in an eight-hour workday; she can
sit for up to six hours in an eight-hour workday; she can
understand, remember, carry out and attend to simple
instructions and tasks without supervision; she can maintain
personal hygiene, and make simple work decisions; she would
work best in a position where she has minimal contact with
the public and would respond best to positive supervision;
she can recognize and avoid normal workplace hazards and use
6. Bennett is unable to perform past relevant work (20 C.F.R.
404.1565 and 416.965).
7. Bennett was born on April 13, 1964 and was 41 years old at
the alleged onset date, which is defined as a younger
individual aged 18-49 (20 C.F.R. 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. Bennett has at least a high school education and is able
to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564 and 416.968).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case
because Bennett's past relevant work is unskilled (20
C.F.R. 404.1568 and 416.968).
10. Considering Bennett's age, education, work
experience, and RFC there are jobs that exists in significant
numbers in the national economy that she can perform (20
C.F.R. 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. Bennett has not been under a disability within the
meaning of the Social Security Act from the alleged onset
date through the date of this decision (20 ...