United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Lois Ann Starkey, seeks judicial review of the Social
Security Administration's denial of her applications for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security
income (SSI). 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 Administrative Record (AR) [Doc. No. 14], and
both parties have briefed their positions. For the reasons
stated below, the Court reverses the Commissioner's
decision and remands the matter for further proceedings.
28, 2015, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to DIB or SSI. AR 14-22. The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Id. at 2-4. Accordingly, the ALJ's decision
constitutes the Commissioner's final decision. See
Krauser v. Astrue, 638 F.3d 1324, 1327 (10th Cir. 2011).
Plaintiff timely commenced this action for judicial review.
The ALJ's Decision
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d
1048, 1051 (10th Cir. 2009) (explaining process); see
also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. Following
this process, the ALJ first determined that Plaintiff met the
insured status requirements for DIB through December 31,
2017, and had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since April 15, 2013, her alleged amended onset date. AR 16.
two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: obesity, hypertension, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, obstructive sleep apnea, and
osteoarthritis with back pain. Id. at
At step three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments
did not meet or medically equal any of the impairments listed
at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 1. Id. at
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(RFC), concluding that she could perform “a range of
‘light work'” except:
[Plaintiff could] only: stand and/or walk for a total of 2
hours in an 8-hour workday and can sit the remainder with
normal breaks; occasionally stoop and crouch; frequently
handle and finger; must avoid concentrated exposure to
irritants, such as dusts, fumes, smoke, gases, and poor
ventilation; must avoid concentrated exposure to high
humidity and wetness; and must avoid exposure to temperatures
of more than 80 degrees and less than 60 degrees.
Id. at 18-19.
four, relying on a vocational expert's (VE) testimony,
the ALJ found Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work,
not as she performed it, but as it is normally performed in
the national economy. Id. at 21-22. Therefore, the
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled for purposes of
the Social Security Act. Id. at 22.
Claim Presented for Judicial Review
alleges that the ALJ erred in rejecting the consultative
examiner's opinion that she could only stand and/or walk
for fifteen minutes at a time, and for only one hour in an
eight-hour workday. See Pl.'s Br. at 7-13.