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Arms v. Berryhill

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

July 25, 2017

TONYA JEAN ARMS
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner of Social Security [1]

          HON ALETA A. TRAUGER, DISTRICT JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARBARA D. HOLMES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), as provided under Title II of the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12), to which Defendant has responded (Docket Entry No. 14).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the undersigned Magistrate Judge recommends that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12) be DENIED.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff filed an application for a period of disability and DIB on October 27, 2011. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 7), at 54.[2] She alleged a disability onset date of June 1, 2008. AR 54. Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work due to arthritis and a back injury.[3] AR 68.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 54, 64. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Joan A. Lawrence on September 12, 2013. AR 30. On January 31, 2014, the ALJ denied the claim. AR 10-12. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision on July 8, 2015, (AR 1-3), thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. 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 January 31, 2014. AR 10-12. Based on the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2012.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of June 1, 2008 through her last date insured of September 30, 2012 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
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3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: rheumatoid arthritis and morbid obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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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).
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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). While she can frequently perform all postural activities, she must avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold.
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6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR ...

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