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Ward-White v. Astrue

March 10, 2009

BEVERLEE M. WARD-WHITE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows U.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI respectively of the Social Security Act ("Act"). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED, the Commissioner's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED, and the Clerk is directed to enter judgment for the Plaintiff. This matter is remanded to the Commissioner for further development of the record.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born January 9, 1960, applied on November 30, 2004 for disability benefits. (Tr. at 57, 60.) Plaintiff alleged she was unable to work due to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, asthma, right ankle pain, leg pain and back pain. (Tr. at 133-34.)

In a decision dated February 20, 2007, ALJ Laura Speck Havens determined plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ made the following findings:*fn1

1. The claimant met the disability insured status requirements of the Act on January 31, 2003, the date the claimant alleges she became unable to work, and continues to meet them through the date of this decision.

2. The claimant has not performed substantial gainful activity since January 31, 2003.

3. The medical evidence establishes that the claimant has severe depression, asthma, and back spasms, but that she does not have an impairment, or combination of impairments, listed in or equivalent in medical severity to one listed in, Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulations No. 4.

4. The allegations of the claimant and her friend are not credible.

5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform the physical exertion and non-exertional requirements of work, except: she can lift and carry up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently; she can stand for six hours in an eight-hour workday; she must be able to alternate between sitting and standing to relieve discomfort; she cannot climb ladders; she can stoop and bend occasionally; she must avoid concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, and smoke; she has a fair ability to deal with work stress and maintain attendance, with fair defined as limited but satisfactory (20 CFR 404.1545 and 416.965).

6. The claimant's past relevant work as receptionist did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the above-limitations (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

7. The claimant's impairments do not prevent the claimant from performing her past relevant work.

8. The claimant's residual functional capacity for the full range of sedentary to light work is reduced by the following limitations: she must be able to alternate between sitting and standing to relieve discomfort; she cannot climb ladders; she can stoop and bend occasionally; she must avoid concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, and smoke; she has a fair ability to deal with work stress and maintain attendance, with fair defined as limited but satisfactory.

9. The claimant is 47 years old, which is defined in the regulations as a "younger individual" (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).

10. The claimant has a 12th grade education (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416.964).

11. Transferability of acquired work skills is not material to this decision.

12. If the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform the full range of sedentary work, given her age, education, and work experience, section 404.1569 of Regulations No. 4 and section 416.969 of Regulations No. 16, and Rule 201.21 and 201.22, Table No. 1, Appendix 2, Subpart P, Regulations No. 4, would direct a finding that the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform the full range of light work, given her age, education, and work experience, section 404.1569 of Regulations No. 4 and section 416.969 of Regulations ...


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