United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Chattanooga
CRYSTAL A. LONG, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
action was instituted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3) seeking judicial review of the
Commissioner's final decision denying Crystal Long's
(“Plaintiff”) claim for Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”), as provided by the Social Security Act.
parties have consented to entry of final judgment by the
United States Magistrate Judge under the provisions of 28
U.S.C. § 636(c), with any appeal to the Court of Appeals
for the Sixth Circuit [Doc. 12]. Pending before the Court are
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings [Doc.
15] and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc.
reasons stated herein, the Court AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's decision. Accordingly, the Court
DENIES Plaintiff's motion [Doc. 15] and
GRANTS Defendant's motion [Doc. 17].
25, 2013, Plaintiff protectively filed for DIB and SSI under
Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act
(“Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 401 et seq.
and 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq., based on
degenerative disc disease, asthma, fibromyalgia, headaches,
plantar fasciitis, heart arrhythmia, and
depression [Tr. 232-245, 274]. Plaintiff's
claims were denied initially and on reconsideration [Tr.
114-115, 149-154, 166-169]. On July 20, 2015, Plaintiff
appeared via videoconference and testified at a hearing
before Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Thomas
Sanzi [Tr. 42-79]. On September 23, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision finding that Plaintiff was “not disabled,
” as defined in the applicable sections of the Act,
because work existed in the national economy that she could
still perform [Tr. 12-31]. On October 31, 2016, the Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-4].
Thus, Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies,
and the ALJ's decision stands as the Commissioner's
final decision subject to judicial review. See 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
Age, Education, and Past Work Experience
is currently a thirty-seven-year-old individual who performed
past relevant work as a child monitor, cashier, fast food
worker, and loader/unloader [Tr. 47-51, 64-65, 286-299]. At
the time of her amended alleged onset date of June 25, 2013,
Plaintiff was thirty-two years old [Tr. 240].
Testimony and Medical History
parties and the ALJ have summarized and discussed the medical
and testimonial evidence of the administrative record.
Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters as relevant
to the analysis of the parties' arguments.
considering the entire record, the ALJ made the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2002.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 25, 2013, the amended alleged onset date
(20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Degenerative disc disease; left heel spur; bilateral plantar
fasciitis; asthma; headaches; inflammatory arthritis;
tachycardia; right knee osteoarthritis; obesity; anxiety
disorder; depression; [and] borderline intellectual
functioning (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, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a) except that she can frequently climb ramps and
stairs, but never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. The
claimant can frequently balance, kneel, and crawl, but only
occasionally stoop and crouch. She should avoid concentrated
exposure to irritants such as fumes, odors, dust, and gases.
The claimant is limited to work involving simple, routine
tasks, in which she would be allowed to be off-task 5 percent
of the day, in addition to normal breaks.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on November 29, 1980 and was 32
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
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. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 25, 2013, through the
date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).