United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
T. ERWIN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration denying Plaintiff's
applications for benefits under the Social Security Act. The
Commissioner has answered and filed a transcript of the
administrative record (hereinafter TR. ___). The parties have
consented to jurisdiction over this matter by a United States
magistrate judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
parties have briefed their positions, and the matter is now
at issue. Based on the Court's review of the record and
the issues presented, the Court AFFIRMS the
and on reconsideration, the Social Security Administration
denied Plaintiff's applications for benefits. Following
an administrative hearing, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ)
issued an unfavorable decision. (TR. 14-26). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (TR. 1-3).
Thus, the decision of the ALJ became the final decision of
THE ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process required
by agency regulations. See Fischer-Ross v. Barnhart,
431 F.3d 729, 731 (10th Cir. 2005); 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520 & 416.920. At step one, the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since his application date of March 6, 2014, his alleged
onset date. (TR. 16). At step two, the ALJ determined that
Mr. Martin had the following severe impairments: degenerative
disc disease of the lumbar spine; status post lumbar fusion,
characterized as failed back syndrome; chronic pain syndrome;
and vertigo. (TR. 17). At step three, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal
any of the presumptively disabling impairments listed at 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (TR. 21).
four, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Martin was unable to perform
any past relevant work. (TR. 24). Even so, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff had retained the residual functional capacity
[P]erform less than the full range of sedentary work as
defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a). Specifically,
the claimant can lift and /or carry up to 10 pounds
occasionally, lift and/or carry less than 10 pounds
frequently, sit for up to 6 hours in an 8-hour workday and
stand and/or walk up to 2 hours in an 8-hour workday. He
cannot climb ladders, ropes or scaffolding. He can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch and crawl. He cannot be exposed to unprotected heights
or dangerous machinery. He can occasionally operate pedals
and foot controls. He is capable of frequent grasping,
handling and fine motor manipulation. The claimant would
require a sit stand option such that he would be able to
stand up at least every 50 to 55 minutes for up to 5 minutes,
but would be able to remain on task and attentive to his
duties. The claimant can only occasionally walk on uneven
surfaces. The claimant can only occasionally reach or work
overhead. The claimant would also need to use a cane in the
right dominant hand to ambulate.
(TR. 21-22). At the administrative hearing, the ALJ presented
the RFC limitations to a vocational expert (VE) to determine
whether there were other jobs in the national economy that
Plaintiff could perform. (TR. 66-68). Given the limitations,
the VE identified three jobs from the Dictionary of
Occupational Titles (DOT) that Mr. Martin could perform. (TR.
67-68). At step five, the ALJ adopted the testimony of the VE
and concluded that Mr. Martin was not disabled based on his
ability to perform the identified jobs. (TR. 26).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court reviews the Commissioner's final “decision to
determin[e] whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record and whether the correct
legal standards were applied.” Wilson v.
Astrue, 602 F.3d 1136, 1140 (10th Cir. 2010).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted).
the court considers whether the ALJ followed the applicable
rules of law in weighing particular types of evidence in
disability cases, the court will “neither reweigh the
evidence nor substitute [its] judgment for that of the
agency.” Vigil v. Colvin, 805 F.3d 1199, 1201
(10th Cir. 2015) (internal quotation marks omitted).