United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY United States Magistrate Judge.
Jenephier Mischelle Sawyer, seeks judicial review of a
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration denying Social Security disability
benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to proceed
before a United States Magistrate Judge.
role of the court in reviewing the decision of the
Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a
determination of whether the record as a whole contains
substantial evidence to support the decision and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir.
1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance,
and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28
L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither
reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of
the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even
if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).
was 45 years old on the alleged date of onset of disability
and 49 on the date of the ALJ's denial decision. She has
a General Equivalency Diploma education and formerly worked
as a child care provider, receptionist, and data entry clerk.
She claims to have been unable to work since July 7, 2010 as
a result of back and neck pain, arthritis, hand and shoulder
pain, depression, and migraines.
determined that Plaintiff retains the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform less than the full range of light
work. She can occasionally lift and carry 20 pounds and 10
pounds frequently. In an 8-hour workday she can stand/walk
for 6 hours and can sit for 6 hours with normal breaks. There
are some additional postural limitations and no work-related
limitations due to her affective disorder. [R. 48]. Relying
on the testimony of a vocational expert the ALJ found that
Plaintiff can return to her past relevant work as a
receptionist and data entry clerk and, alternatively, there
are a significant number of jobs in the national economy that
Plaintiff could perform with these limitations. The case was
thus decided at step four of the five-step evaluative
sequence for determining whether a claimant is disabled with
an alternative step five finding. See Williams v.
Bowen, 844 F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th Cir. 1988) (discussing
five steps in detail).
asserts that the ALJ erred by: failing to recognize her
bilateral carpal tunnel syndrom and shoulder problems as
severe impairments; failing to include all of the limitations
established by her treating physicians; failing to properly
analyze all of her impairments; failing to specify what
joints were affected by arthritis, and failing to perform a
proper credibility analysis.
of Carpal Tunnel Syndrom and Shoulder Pain
argues that the ALJ erred by failing to include hand and
shoulder problems in the list of severe impairments at step
two of the evaluative sequence. At step two the ALJ must
determine whether Plaintiff suffers from severe impairments.
That is all that is required of the ALJ at step two.
Oldham v. Astrue, 509 F.3d 1254, 1256 (10th Cir.
2007). Once an ALJ finds that a claimant has at least one
severe impairment, a failure to designate others as
“severe” at step two does not constitute
reversible error because, under the regulations, the agency
at later steps “consider[s] the combined effect of all
of [the claimant's] impairments without regard to whether
any such impairment, if considered separately, would be of
sufficient severity.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1521,
416.921; see also 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1525(e), 416.945(e); Smith v. Colvin, 821 F.3d
1264, 1266-67 (10th Cir.2016), Mariaz v. Sec'y of
Health & Human Servs., 857 F.2d 240, 244 (6th Cir.
1987), Brescia v. Astrue, 287 Fed.Appx. 626, 629
(10th Cir. 2008).
court finds no error in the ALJ's findings at step two.
Plaintiff's argument is more properly directed at the
ALJ's findings concerning the ability to do any work,
considering all of her impairments. Those issues are dealt