United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. PURCELL, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
seeks judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of
the final decision of Defendant Commissioner denying her
application for disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i),
423. Defendant has answered the Complaint and filed the
administrative record (hereinafter AR ___), and the parties
have briefed the issues. The matter has been referred to the
undersigned Magistrate Judge for initial proceedings
consistent with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). For the
following reasons, it is recommended that the
Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
Administrative History and Agency Decision
applied for disability insurance benefits in February 2014,
alleging that she became disabled beginning August 1, 2007.
(AR 209-10). She later amended her alleged disability onset
date to April 15, 2011. (AR 45, 226). Plaintiff identified
numerous physical and mental conditions as disabling
impairments, including back surgery, breast cancer, chronic
lymphedema, post-traumatic stress syndrome
(“PTSD”), depression, anxiety, neuropathy, leg
and foot pain, severe spinal stenosis, arthritis, and joint
pain. (AR 243, 277). Plaintiff has a high school education,
and she previously worked as a security guard.
filed a previous application for disability benefits that was
denied on June 25, 2013. (AR 97). Based on her earnings
record, the agency determined that Plaintiff was last insured
for disability insurance benefits on December 31, 2013. (AR
101). Therefore, Plaintiff was required to demonstrate that
she was disabled on or before that date. Wilson v.
Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1139 (10th Cir. 2010); Potter
v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 905 F.2d
1346, 1349 (10th Cir. 1990)(per curiam);
accord, Adams v. Chater, 93 F.2d 712, 714
(10th Cir. 1996); Henrie v. United States Dep't of
Health & Human Servs., 13 F.3d 359, 360 (10th Cir.
appeared with her representative and testified at an
administrative hearing conducted on February 16, 2015, before
Administrative Law Judge Hamilton (“ALJ”). A
vocational expert (“VE”) also testified at the
issued a decision in which the ALJ found no basis for
reopening Plaintiff's prior disability insurance benefits
application. (AR 12). Applying res judicata
principles, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff could not be
found disabled prior to June 27, 2013, the day following the
administrative denial of her previous application. (AR 12).
Due to the expiration of her insured status, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff must demonstrate disability on or before
December 31, 2013. (AR 13, 15).
the agency's five-step sequential evaluation procedure,
see 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4), the ALJ
determined that through the date Plaintiff was last insured
for benefits she had severe impairments due to obesity,
lymphedema, 2013 lumbar laminectomy, post cervical fusion,
anxiety, depression, arthritis, and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (“COPD”). (AR 15).
determined at the next step that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in the regulations at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, App. 1 through the date she was last insured.
next determined that through the date she was last insured
Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work except she can
no more than frequently perform bilateral fingering and
feeling, she can have no more than occasional exposure to
environmental irritants such as odors, fumes, dust, and
gases, and her work must be limited to simple, routine, and
repetitive tasks with only occasional interaction with
co-workers, supervisors, and the public, with no production
rate pace. (AR 25).
on this RFC finding and Plaintiff's and the VE's
testimony regarding the requirements of Plaintiff's
previous work, the ALJ determined that the demands of
Plaintiff's previous security guard position exceeded her
RFC for work and she was therefore unable to perform her past
the fifth and final step of the required sequential analysis,
the ALJ found that through the date she was last insured for
benefits Plaintiff was capable of performing jobs that
existed in the national economy, including the jobs of
document preparer, surveillance system monitor, and
addressor. Consequently, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was
not under a disability, as defined by the Social Security
Act, at any time from June 27, 2013, through December 31,
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Therefore, the ALJ's decision represents the final
decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R.
§404.981; Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1051
(10th Cir. 2009).