United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
BERNARD M. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Pravina Desai, seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's denial of her application for disability
insurance benefits (DIB). United States District Judge
Stephen P. Friot 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. 9], and both parties
have briefed their positions. For the reasons set forth below,
it is recommended that the Commissioner's decision be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings.
October 27, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to DIB. AR 12-31. The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at
1-6. 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 multi-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. The ALJ first
determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirement
through September 30, 2019 and has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since March 20, 2013, her alleged onset
date. AR 14.
steps two and three, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers
from severe “lumbar degenerative disc disease, status
post laminectomy and fragment removal, scoliosis,
recalcitrant plantar fasciitis on the right side,
osteoarthritis, diabetes mellitus, hyperlipidemia,
gastroparesis, anxiety and depression” but that her
impairments do not meet or medically equal any of the
impairments listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 1.
next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity
(RFC), concluding, in relevant part, she can perform
sedentary work with exertional and non-exertional limitations
and can “perform simple and some complex tasks.”
Id. at 16. Finally, at step four, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff can perform her past relevant work as a claim
processor, Dictionary of Occupational Titles (DOT)
241.362-010, and is therefore not disabled for purposes of
the Social Security Act. See id. at 30.
Claim Presented for Judicial Review
to Plaintiff, her past relevant work as a claim processor
requires a reasoning level of four, which is inconsistent
with her ability to perform only “simple and some
complex tasks.” Pl.'s Br. at 3-5.
Standard of Review
review of the Commissioner's final decision is limited to
determining whether the factual findings are supported by
substantial evidence in the record as a whole and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See Poppa v.
Astrue, 569 F.3d 1167, 1169 (10th Cir. 2009).
vocational expert (VE) described Plaintiff's past work as
a claim processor as requiring a “SVP of 4, ” AR
58, which is how it is described in the DOT. See DOT
241.362-010, 1991 WL 672250. Plaintiff argues this reasoning
level is inconsistent with her ability to perform only