United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee
GINGER M. ROGERS, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration Defendant.
CHRISTOPHER H. STEGER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
seeks judicial review pursuant to Section 205(g) of the
Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), of the denial by the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (“SSA”) of her
application for disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. The 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. 13]. For the reasons stated herein,
Plaintiff's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative
Record [Doc. 9] shall be DENIED, the
Commissioner's Motion for Summary Judgment [Doc. 14]
shall be GRANTED, and the decision of the
Commissioner shall be AFFIRMED. Judgment in
favor of the Defendant shall be entered.
applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of
the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. [Doc. 5, Tr.
122-25]. Section 205(g) of the Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
provides for judicial review of a “final
decision” of the Commissioner of the SSA.
Plaintiff's claim was denied and she requested a hearing
before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). [Doc.
5, Tr. 75-76]. On January 8, 2016, following a hearing, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. [Doc. 5, Tr.
7-23]. On November 10, 2016, SSA's Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. [Doc. 5, Tr. 1-3]. Thus,
Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies, and the
ALJ's decision stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner subject to judicial review. Plaintiff filed a
Complaint in the district court on January 9, 2017.
Subsequently, Plaintiff filed a motion for judgment on the
administrative record and the Commissioner filed a motion for
summary judgment. Both motions are ripe for review.
The ALJ's Findings
considering the entire record, the ALJ made the following
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on March 31, 2009.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her alleged onset date of
August 1, 2007 through her date last insured of March 31,
2009. (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease;
disorder of the muscle, ligaments, and fascia; and COPD. (20
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 had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except posturals
limited to occasional. The claimant can never climb ladders,
ropes or scaffolds and never have exposure to dangerous
machinery. Handling and fingering are limited to frequent.
The claimant must avoid exposure to fumes, dust, gases and
pulmonary irritants. The claimant is limited to occasional
neck extension, occasional neck flexion, and occasional neck
rotation. The claimant can understand, remember, and carry
out simple, routine instructions and can make simple work
related decisions/judgments for unskilled work.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work. (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on May 13, 1961, and was 47 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date last insured. (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English. (20 CFR 404.1564).
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. Through the dated last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could have performed. (20 CFR 404.1569 and 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in
the Social Security Act, at any time from August 1, 2007, the
alleged onset date, through March 31, 2009, the ...