United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BERNARD M. JONES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Wanda Cook, seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's denial of her applications for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security
income (SSI). Chief United States District Judge Joe
Heaton has referred the matter for proposed findings and
recommendations. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)
and (C). The Commissioner has filed the Administrative Record
(AR), [Doc. No. 13], and both parties have briefed their
positions. For the reasons set forth below, it is
recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.
December 22, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued
an unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled
and, therefore, not entitled to DIB or SSI. AR 18-36. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Id. at 1-7. 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. The ALJ
first determined that Plaintiff met the insured status
requirement through December 31, 2018 and has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since April 15, 2014, her
alleged onset date. AR 20.
two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers from the following
severe impairments: “diabetes mellitus, degenerative
disc disease status post-surgery, status post left knee
surgery, right knee arthritis, hypothyroidism, bilateral
carpal tunnel syndrome status post surgery, rheumatoid
arthritis, fibrosis of the liver, asthma, and morbid
obesity.” Id. at 21. Then, at step three, the
ALJ found Plaintiff's impairments do not meet or
medically equal any of the impairments listed at 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, App. 1. Id. at 22-23.
The ALJ next determined Plaintiff's residual functional
capacity, concluding that she:
[can] lift and/or carry 10 pounds occasionally and up to 10
pounds frequently. She can sit for 6 hours out of [an] 8-hour
workday. [She] can stand and/or walk for 2 hours out of an
8-hour workday. She can occasionally climb stairs, stoop,
kneel, crouch, and crawl. She should avoid concentrated
exposure to dust and fumes. [She] should avoid unprotected
heights and open machinery. She [can] use her bilateral hands
for no more than frequent use of the hands for handling and
Id. at 23-24.
four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff is unable to perform any
past relevant work, id. at 34, and at step five,
found Plaintiff can work as document preparer and/or clerical
mailer, work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. Id. at 35. Therefore, the ALJ concluded
that Plaintiff is not disabled for purposes of the Social
Security Act. Id. at 35-36.
Claim Presented for Judicial Review
to Plaintiff, the ALJ mischaracterized, and improperly relied
upon, her ability to perform activities of daily living in
finding her allegations “not entirely
consistent.” See Pl.'s Br. at 3-8.