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Holden v. Commissioner

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

March 22, 2018

ELIZABETH HOLDEN
v.
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION[1]

          The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION.

          J. Gregory wehrman United States magistrate judge.

         Pending before the Court is the pro se Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record. See Docket Entry (“DE”) 20. Plaintiff brought 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”). At issue is whether the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in finding that Plaintiff was “not disabled, ” and therefore not entitled to Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). (See Administrative Transcript (“Tr.”) at 28-30). This matter has been referred to the undersigned, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), for initial consideration and a report and recommendation. See DE 5.

         Upon review of the administrative record and consideration of the parties' filings, I find no error that warrants reversal of the Commissioner's decision in this case and therefore recommend that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (DE 20) be DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff protectively filed an application for DIB on February 13, 2014 due to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”), anxiety, tremors, and Hepatitis C, with an alleged disability onset date of July 26, 2012.[2] (Tr. 80-81, 118).[3] Her application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. 80, 107). Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an ALJ, Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Alfred M. Smith on November 3, 2015. (Tr. 48). On December 29, 2015, the ALJ denied the claim. (Tr. 28-30). On July 21, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's decision; therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the final determination of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3).

         As part of the decision, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2018.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 14, 2014, the amended alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); depression; and hepatitis C (20 CFR 404.1520(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, and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c). She can stand and walk for 6 hours out of an 8-hour workday and sit for 6 hours out of an 8-hour workday. The claimant is capable of understanding and remembering at least simple directions. She can maintain attention and concentration for at least 2-hour periods during an 8-hour workday and complete a normal workweek. She can adequately relate to the public, accept supervision, and deal appropriately with criticism. She is able to manage the demands of a working environment, adjust to task setting, and deal with normal changes.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on October 26, 1966 and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563) (Ex. C1E).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564) (Ex. C2E).
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 ...

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