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Dillard v. Commissioner, Social Security Administration

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

April 19, 2018

JACKIE LEE DILLARD
v.
COMMISSIONER, SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION[1]

          The Honorable Aleta A. Trauger, District Judge

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          J. GREGORY WEHRMAN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Currently pending is Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record. See Docket Entry (“DE”) 14. Plaintiff brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) 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 18-20). 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 6.

         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 14) be

         DENIED.

         I. FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Plaintiff protectively filed an application for DIB on October 21, 2013 that alleged disability due to diabetes and neuropathy. (Tr. 60-61).[2] She alleged an onset date of November 15, 2012. (Tr. 61). Her application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. 60, 76).[3]Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an ALJ, Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Scott C. Shimer on December 17, 2015. (Tr. 34). On March 1, 2016, the ALJ denied the claim. (Tr. 18-20). On March 1, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 1-3). Therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the final determination of the Commissioner.

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

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on September 30, 2015.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of November 15, 2012 through her date last insured of September 30, 2015 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairment: Diabetes type I (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except the claimant may frequently balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant may not climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. There should be no concentrated exposure to vibrations. She may not work at unprotected heights or around unguarded moving machinery.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a nursery school attendant (DOT # 359.677-018, Light SVP4). This work did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from November 15, 2012, the alleged onset date, through September 30, 2015, the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).

(Tr. 23-29).

         On appeal, Plaintiff submits two assertions of error: (1) that the ALJ's credibility determination is not supported by substantial evidence; and (2) that the ALJ improperly relied on vocational expert testimony provided in response to an incomplete hypothetical question. DE 14-1 at 6.

         II. ...


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