United States District Court, S.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEGAN L. PRIM, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
BRADLEY MURRAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Megan L. Prim brings this action, pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1383(c)(3), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her
claim for supplemental security income benefits. 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. (Docs. 22 & 23 (“In
accordance with 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.”)). Upon consideration of the
administrative record, Plaintiff's brief, the
Commissioner's brief, and the parties' arguments at
the February 5, 2018 hearing before the undersigned, the
Court concludes that the Commissioner's decision denying
benefits should be affirmed.
filed an application for supplemental security income
benefits on September 1, 2015, alleging disability beginning
on August 28, 2015. (Compare Tr. 21 with
Tr. 156-161.) Prim's claim was initially denied on
December 10, 2015 (Tr. 75 & 94-98) and, following
Plaintiff's December 16, 2015 request for a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr.
100-02), a hearing was conducted before an ALJ on April 19,
2017 (Tr.33-73). On August 21, 2017, the ALJ issued a
decision finding that the claimant was not disabled and,
therefore, not entitled to supplemental security income
benefits. (Tr. 10-21.) More specifically, the ALJ determined
at the fifth step of the five-step sequential evaluation
process that Prim retains the residual functional capacity to
perform those light jobs identified by the vocational expert
(“VE”) during the administrative hearing
(compare Id. at 15-21 with Tr. 67-69). On
September 7, 2017, the Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's
unfavorable decision to the Appeals Council (see Tr.
154); the Appeals Council denied Prim's request for
review on May 3, 2018 (Tr. 1-3). Thus, the hearing decision
became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social
alleges disability due to diabetes mellitus with neuropathy,
hypertension, congestive heart failure, bilateral wrist pain,
retinopathy, cataracts and vision issue, depression, and
anxiety. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) made the
following relevant findings:
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
diabetes mellitus with neuropathy, hypertension, congestive
heart failure, bilateral wrist pain, retinopathy, cataracts
and vision issues, depression, and anxiety (20 CFR
. . .
3. 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 416.920(d),
416.925 and 416.926).
. . .
4. 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 416.967(b) except she can lift and/or carry 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. She can handle and
finger frequently with her hands, bilaterally. She can
frequently climb ramps and stairs and occasionally climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She can frequently balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. With regard to vision, she
would have difficulty with fine print and fine
discrimination, but she can read ordinary newspaper or book
size print, travel independently, work with large objects,
and avoid common hazards. She can never work at unprotected
heights and [around] moving mechanical parts. She can operate
a motor vehicle, but she would need outside mirrors for
commercial driving and she should avoid commercial driving at
night. She is limited to performing simple, routine tasks,
and simple work-related decisions. She can occasionally
interact with supervisors and corrective action should be
clear and objective. She can occasionally interact with
coworkers and she would function best with a few familiar
coworkers. She can occasionally interact with the public. She
can deal with occasional changes in a work setting.
. . .
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past
relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
. . .
6. The claimant was born on September 1, 1991 and was
23 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the date the application was ...