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Watkins v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma

February 7, 2017

TINA WATKINS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          Paul J. Cleary United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff, Tina Watkins (“Watkins”), seeks judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying her application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.

         Social Security Law and Standard of Review

         Disability under the Social Security Act is defined as the “inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A claimant is disabled under the Act only if his “physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A). Social Security regulations implement a five-step sequential process to evaluate a disability claim. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520.[1] See also Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009) (detailing steps). “If a determination can be made at any of the steps that a claimant is or is not disabled, evaluation under a subsequent step is not necessary.” Lax, 489 F.3d 1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation omitted).

         Judicial review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in scope to two inquiries: first, whether the decision was supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the correct legal standards were applied. Hamlin v. Barnhart, 365 F.3d 1208, 1214 (10th Cir. 2004).

         “Substantial evidence is such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. It requires more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance.” Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052 (quotation and citation omitted). Although the court will not reweigh the evidence, the court will “meticulously examine the record as a whole, including anything that may undercut or detract from the ALJ's findings in order to determine if the substantiality test has been met.” Id.

         Background

         Watkins was thirty-eight years old on the amended alleged date of onset of disability and forty-one on the date of the Commissioner's final decision. [R. 1, R. 150 (Ex. 1D)]. She has a high school education. [R. 32, R. 169 (Ex. 2E)]. She has previous experience as a cashier, a habilitation training specialist and a plastic molder. [R. 169 (Ex. 2E)]. In her application, she claimed to be unable to work as a result of social anxiety, depression, ADHD, “Anger/Explosive problem, ” and bipolar disorder. [R. 1`68 (Ex. 2E)].

         The ALJ's Decision

         In his decision, the ALJ found that Watkins last met insured status requirements on December 31, 2011, but not thereafter, and, at Step One, that she had not engaged in any substantial gainful activity since January 10, 2012, the application date. [R. 13]. He found at Step Two that Watkins had severe impairments of affective disorder and anxiety disorder. Id. At Step Three, he found that the impairments did not meet or medically equal any listing. Id. He concluded that Watkins the following residual functional capacity (“RFC”):

[T]he claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonextertional limitations: The claimant is able to perform simple work with routine supervision. The claimant is able to relate to coworkers and supervisors for work related purposes only. She should have no contact with the general public. She is able to adapt to a work situation.

[R. 15]. At Step Four, the ALJ determined that Watkins had no past relevant work. [R. 18]. At Step Five, he found that, considering Watkin's age, education, work experience and residual functional capacity, there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy that she could perform, including hand packager (medium exertion, unskilled, SPV 2, DOT #920.587-018, 18, 000 positions in the region and 220, 000 positions nationally); laundry worker (medium exertion, unskilled, SVP 2, DOT #361.685-018, 15, 000 positions in the region and 190, 000 positions nationally); dishwasher (medium exertion, unskilled, SVP 2, DOT #318.687-010, 19, 000 positions in the region and 280, 000 positions nationally); laundry sorter (light exertion, unskilled, SVP 2, DOT #361.687-014, 12, 000 positions in the region and 177, 000 positions nationally); assembler (light exertion, unskilled, SVP 2, DOT #706.684-022, 13, 000 positions in the region and 180, 000 positions nationally); and trimmer (sedentary exertion, unskilled, SVP 2, DOT #692.685-266, 6, 500 positions in the region and 95, 000 positions nationally). [R. 19].

         Accordingly, the ALJ found that Watkins had not been under a disability since January 10, 2012, the date the application was filed. Id.

         Plaintiff's ...


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