United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
M. Purcell, 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. § 1382. The
Commissioner 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 the Commissioner's
decision be affirmed.
Administrative History and Final Agency Decision
applied for disability insurance benefits on February 26,
2016. AR 156-59. In her application, Plaintiff alleged she
became disabled on September 13, 2014, due to conditions
affecting bipolar disorder and fibromyalgia. AR 182, 186.
Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's
application on May 23, 2016, see AR 52, 53-66, and
on reconsideration on August 30, 2016. AR 67, 68-83.
appeared with counsel and testified at an administrative
hearing conducted on June 14, 2017, before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). AR 29-48. A vocational expert
(“VE”) testified at the hearing. AR 44-47. The
ALJ issued a decision in which she found Plaintiff was not
disabled within the meaning of the Social Security Act. AR
10-24. Following the agency's well-established sequential
evaluation procedure, the ALJ found at the first step that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since January 8, 2015. AR 15. At the second step, the ALJ
found Plaintiff had severe impairments of obesity,
fibromyalgia, affective disorder (bipolar), and anxiety
disorder. Id. At the third step, the ALJ found these
impairments were not per se disabling as Plaintiff
did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
met or medically equaled the requirements of a listed
impairment. AR 16.
four, the ALJ found Plaintiff had the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform light work except Plaintiff can
only frequently climb ramps and stairs, stoop, kneel, and
crouch. AR 19. Additionally, Plaintiff can only occasionally
crawl, or climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. Id.
Finally, Plaintiff's work must be limited to simple,
routine, and repetitive tasks, and only require occasional
interaction with co-workers, supervisors, and the public, and
be free of production rate pace. Id.
on the VE's testimony as to the ability of a hypothetical
individual with Plaintiff's work history, age, education,
and the determined RFC, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could not
perform any past relevant work. AR 22. However, the ALJ also
found, based on the VE's testimony, that Plaintiff could
perform the jobs of collator, final inspector, and shirt
presser, each of which exist in significant numbers within
the national economy. AR 22-23. Based on this finding, the
ALJ concluded Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Social Security Act, from January 8, 2015
through the date of the decision. AR 23.
Appeal's Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, and therefore the ALJ's decision is the final
decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.981; Wall v. Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1051 (10th
argues the ALJ erred, after giving great weight to the
opinion of the state agency physicians, by failing to adopt
specific limitations related to Plaintiff's ability to
interact with the general public that were included in their
Opening Brief (Doc. No. 15) at 3-7.
General Legal Standards Guiding Judicial Review
Court must determine whether the Commissioner's decision
is 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);
Doyal v. Barnhart, 331 F.3d 758, 760 (10th Cir.
2003). “Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. It requires more than a scintilla, but less than
a preponderance.” Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d
1080, 1084 (10th Cir. 2007) (citations and quotations
omitted). The “determination of whether the ALJ's
ruling is supported by substantial evidence must be based
upon the record taken as a whole. Consequently, [the ...