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Blackwell v. Berryhill

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

February 8, 2018

DANTAY YVETTE BLACKWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ALETA A. TRAUGER, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Dantay Yvette Blackwell brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security Commissioner's denial of her application for supplemental security insurance (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act..

         On December 13, 2017, the magistrate judge issued a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) (Doc. No. 19), recommending that the decision of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) be affirmed. The plaintiff has filed timely Objections (Doc. No. 20), to which the SSA has responded (Doc. No. 21). For the reasons discussed herein, the court will overrule the Objections, accept the R&R, and dismiss this action.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The plaintiff filed her application for SSI on March 7, 2013, claiming that she had been disabled since June 1, 2006 due to a seizure disorder. (See Doc. No. 13, Administrative Record (AR) 165-70.[1]) She later amended the onset date to January 1, 2006. (AR 163.)

         The SSA denied the application initially and upon reconsideration. (AR 64-89.) The plaintiff requested and received a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), which was conducted on April 8, 2015. (AR 27-63.) The plaintiff and a vocational expert testified at the hearing. The plaintiff appeared pro se.

         The ALJ issued a decision unfavorable to the plaintiff on October 6, 2015, finding that the plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act and Regulations. (AR 6-25.) The ALJ made the following specific factual findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 7, 2013, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: seizure disorder; headaches; sleep apnea; and obesity (20 CFR 416.920(c)). . . .
3. 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 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926). . . .
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels except that she should avoid all exposure to hazards. . . .
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965). . . .
6. The claimant was born on March 24, 1974 and was 38 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 419.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in ...

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