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Wright v. Saul

United States District Court, W.D. Oklahoma

October 18, 2019

MARY WRIGHT, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BERNARD M. JONES UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff, Mary Wright, seeks judicial review of the Social Security Administration's (SSA) denial of her applications for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental security income (SSI). United States District Judge David L. Russell has referred the matter for proposed findings and recommendations. See 28 U.S.C. §§ 636(b)(1)(B), 636(B)(3); Fed.R.Civ.P. 72(b). The Commissioner has filed the Administrative Record (AR) [Doc. No. 17], and both parties have briefed their positions.[1] For the reasons set forth below, it is recommended that the Commissioner's decision be affirmed.

         I. Procedural Background

         On April 3, 2018, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled and, therefore, not entitled to DIB or SSI. AR 12-23. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at 1-8. 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.

         II. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ 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 had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 2, 2014, her alleged onset date. AR 14.

         At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff suffers from the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease of the knees bilaterally, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, headaches, obesity, anxiety, and depression. Id. At step three, the ALJ found that 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 16.

         The ALJ next determined Plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC), concluding that Plaintiff could perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with the following additional restrictions:

[Plaintiff] can lift, carry, push or pull no more than twenty pounds occasionally; can sit for a total of six hours a day, stand for a total of six hours a day, and walk for a total of six hours a day; can perform simple and some complex tasks with supervision; can only interact incidentally with the public; and can accept instructions from supervisors.

Id. at 18.

         At step four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work and that transferability of job skills is not a material issue. Id. at 21-22. The ALJ then proceeded to step five and, relying on the testimony of a vocational expert, found Plaintiff can perform work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. Id. at 22-23. Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff can perform the requirements of representative jobs such as small products assembler, office helper, and electronics worker. Id. at 23. Therefore, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled for purposes of the Social Security Act. Id.

         III. Claim Presented for Judicial Review

         Plaintiff alleges that the ALJ erred in considering whether Plaintiffs headaches necessitated additional restrictions in the RFC. Pl.'s Br. [Doc. No. 19] at 3-10. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds no grounds for reversal.

         IV. Stand ...


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