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Hill v. Astrue

August 7, 2008

LA DONNA D. HILL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance Benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act ("Act"). For the reasons that follow, the court recommends that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment be denied and the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born November 20, 1960, applied for disability benefits on February 20, 2004, alleging disability since August 28, 2003, due to systemic lupus erythematosus ("SLE") and fibromyalgia. Administrative Record ("AR") 14, 75, 100. The application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 19-20. On March 30, 2006, following a hearing before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Alberto E. Gonzalez, plaintiff was found not disabled.*fn1 AR 14-18.

Specifically, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. Claimant met the disability insured status requirements of the Act on August 28, 2003, her alleged onset date, and continues to meet those requirements through September 30, 2009.

2. Claimant has not performed any SGA since August 28, 2003, her alleged onset date.

3. The medical evidence establishes that claimant has the severe impairments of fibromyalgia with chronic joint pain and hepatitis C with liver mass.

4. Claimant's severe impairments do not meet or equal any listed impairment in Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4.

5. Claimant has the following RFC: the ability to lift and carry up to 10 pounds occasionally, sit up to five hours during an eight-hour workday, stand/walk up to three hours during an eight-hour workday, perform occasional simple bilateral grasping, feeling and pushing/pulling, perform frequent bilateral fine manipulation, reaching and handling, occasional use [sic] the feet for pushing/pulling activities and occasionally balance and stoop with preclusion from climbing, crouching, kneeling, crawling and working on heights and the need to avoid even moderate exposure to moving machinery, chemicals, dust, temperature extremes, fumes and vibration.

6. Claimant's subjective complaints, as discussed above, are only credible to the extent that they are consistent with the above RFC.

7. Claimant is unable to perform past relevant work.

8. Claimant is a 45-year-old individual with a GED and one year of college education and past relevant work as a warehouse laborer, cashier, sales route driver and bus driver.

9. Considering claimant's RFC, vocational factors and the expert opinion, as explained above there are jobs existing in significant numbers within the national economy that she can perform. Cited jobs include accounts clerk, credit checker/authorizer and mail machine operator (except postal worker).

10. Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. ยง 404.1520(f), claimant is not and has not been under a "disability" as that term is defined in the Social Security ...


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