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Golden v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

August 11, 2017

JENNIFER ROSE GOLDEN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.[1]

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          BERNARD M.JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Jennifer Rose Golden, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the Social Security Administration's final decision finding she was not disabled under the Social Security Act. The parties have consented to the exercise of jurisdiction over this matter by a United States Magistrate Judge. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). The Commissioner has filed the Social Security Administrative Record (AR), and both parties have briefed their respective positions. For the reasons stated below, the Court affirms the Commissioner's decision.

         I. Procedural Background

         In July 2013, Plaintiff protectively filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. AR 19, 159-162, 163-168. The Social Security Administration (SSA) denied the applications initially and on reconsideration. AR 49-50; 66-67. Following an administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision dated June 17, 2015. AR 19-26. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on September 21, 2016. AR 1-5. Therefore, the ALJ's decision constitutes the final decision of the Commissioner. Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 2011). Plaintiff timely commenced this action for judicial review. See Compl. [Doc. No. 1] (filed November 21, 2016).

         II. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required by agency regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart, 431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005) (explaining process); see also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. The ALJ first determined Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2018, and has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 4, 2013. AR 21.

         At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: diabetes and chronic back pain. Id. The ALJ determined two additional medically determinable impairments, celiac disease and Graves' disease, are not severe impairments. AR 22. At step three, the ALJ found that the functional limitations resulting from Plaintiff's impairments, considered alone or in combination, do not meet or medically equal any of the impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 1. Id.

         The ALJ next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC):

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the following: she remains able to stoop, crouch, and kneel.

Id.

         At step four, the ALJ relied on the testimony of the vocational expert (VE), and determined Plaintiff could perform at least some of her past relevant work:

The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a library clerk (D.O.T. # 249.367-046), record sales clerk (D.O.T. # 277.357-046), and contract clerk (D.O.T. # 209.387-018). This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

AR 25. Thus, at the fourth step of the sequential evaluation, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not disabled.

         III. Issues Presented ...


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