United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jennifer Anderson brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review
of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
denying her claims for a period of disability, disability
insurance benefits, and supplemental security income. The
parties have consented to the exercise of jurisdiction by the
Magistrate Judge, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), for
all proceedings in this Court. (Doc. 14 (“In accordance
with the provisions of 28 U.S.C. 636(c) and Fed.R.Civ.P. 73,
the parties in this case consent to have a United States
Magistrate Judge conduct any and all proceedings in this
case, . . . order the entry of a final judgment, and conduct
all post-judgment proceedings.”); see also
Doc. 16 (order of reference)). Upon consideration of the
administrative record, Plaintiff's brief, the
Commissioner's brief, and the parties' arguments at
the May 9, 2018 hearing before the undersigned, the Court
concludes that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
filed applications for a period of disability, disability
insurance benefits, and supplemental security income on April
24, 2014, alleging disability beginning on April 6, 2014.
(See Tr. 148-55.) Anderson's claims were
initially denied on June 24, 2014 (Tr. 92-101) and, following
Plaintiff's August 12, 2014 written request for a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
(see Tr. 104-05), a hearing was conducted before an
ALJ on November 16, 2015 (Tr. 44-63). On August 29, 2016, the
ALJ issued a decision finding that the claimant was not
disabled and, therefore, not entitled to a period of
disability, disability insurance benefits, or supplemental
security income. (Tr. 22-38.) More specifically, the ALJ
proceeded to the fifth step of the five-step sequential
evaluation process and determined that Anderson retains the
residual functional capacity to perform those light jobs
identified by the vocational expert (“VE”) during
the administrative hearing (compare Id. at 37
with Tr. 60-61). On October 11, 2016, the Plaintiff
appealed the ALJ's unfavorable decision to the Appeals
Council (Tr. 145); the Appeals Council denied Anderson's
request for review on July 26, 2017 (Tr. 1-3). Thus, the
hearing decision became the final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security.
alleges disability due to affective disorder, personality
disorder, obesity, diabetes mellitus, back and hip pain, and
right-sided weakness. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made
the following relevant findings:
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b), except that she cannot climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally climb ramps
and stairs; can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl;
can have no exposure to unprotected heights/hazardous
machinery; can perform no commercial driving; can have
occasional exposure to chemicals, fumes, odors, and gases; is
limited to simple routine tasks; and can have occasional
interaction with the public.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on June 8, 1970, and was 43 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or
not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41
and 20 CFR 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform (20 CFR ...