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Miller v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northwestern Division

December 14, 2018

SHARON MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, COMMISSIONER, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          LILES C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On June 9, 2017, Plaintiff, Sharon Miller, filed a complaint (Doc. 1) seeking judicial review of an adverse final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“the Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). On December 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a brief in support (Doc. 11). On January 2, 2018, the Commissioner filed a Memorandum in Support (Doc. 12). Therefore, this matter is ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, the final decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On August 14, 2014, Plaintiff filed application for benefits under Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act alleging February 9, 2013, as her onset of disability. On February 18, 2016, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Patrick R. Digby, conducted a hearing in Cullman, Alabama. (Tr. 16). Plaintiff, her attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”) were present at the hearing. (Id.). On May 4, 2016, the ALJ issued his decision. In doing so, the ALJ engaged in the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner to determine whether an individual is disabled. (Id. at 16-28). The ALJ made the following findings:

1. Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015, but not thereafter. (Id. at 18).
2. Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 9, 2013, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.). (Id.).
3. Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: osteoarthritis of the right and left knee, cervical disc disease, and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)). (Id. at 19).
4. Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926). (Id. at 22).
5. Plaintiff has the residual functioning capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that the claimant can occasionally lift and carry twenty pounds and frequently ten pounds. She can stand and/or walk for six hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit for six hours in an eight-hour workday. The claimant can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, and climb ramps and stairs. She cannot work on or around ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, dangerous machinery, and unprotected heights. (Id. at 22).
6. The claimant is unable to perform her past relevant work as a housekeeper due to her RFC. (Id. at 27).
7. The claimant was born on March 28, 1967 and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963). (Id.).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964). (Id.).
9. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled (20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968). (Id.).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 404.1569, ...

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