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Collins v. Astrue

March 13, 2009

TONDALAYO COLLINS O/B/O RICHARD COLLINS (DECEASED) PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stephen J. Hillman United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION

I. PROCEEDINGS

Robert Collins filed Applications for Title II Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB) and Title XVI Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits on July 25, 2005, which Applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.

Plaintiff died on August 26, 2006, and his death ended any eligibility for SSI benefits.

His widow, Tondalayo Collins, filed a Substitution of Plaintiff on May 25, 2007, to proceed in the name of her deceased spouse regarding the DIB claim.

A hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") was held on August 9, 2007.

Following receipt of the ALJ Decision denying benefits, plaintiff sought review to the Appeals Council.

The Appeals Council declined review on December 28, 2007. This action followed.

The parties filed a Joint Stipulation, and have consented to the jurisdiction of the Magistrate Judge. Plaintiff makes four claims of error. For the reasons shown below, the Commissioner's decision denying benefits is affirmed.

II. DISCUSSION

ISSUE NO. 1

Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ misrepresented the record and improperly considered the treating physician's opinions. Although the record indicates multiple physical complaints, plaintiff's primary complaint was chronic, long-term back pain. (Joint Stipulation at 3). The ALJ indicated in his Decision that no objective evidence supported plaintiff's claim of disability due to back pain. Plaintiff alleges that there is additional medical evidence in the record that supports the claim, which the ALJ did not properly consider.

A DIB claimant is required to prove that he was disabled on or before his date last insured (DLI). Plaintiff was insured for DIB until September 30, 2000, and he alleges an onset date of August 1, 1999. It follows that plaintiff's primary claim of disability due to back pain needed to be established no later than September 30, 2000.

A plaintiff bears the burden of proving that an impairment is disabling. Matthews v. Shalala, 10 F.3d 678, 680 (9th Cir. 1993), citing Miller v. Heckler, 770 F.2d 845, 849 (9th Cir. 1985). A plaintiff must show that his impairment precluded him from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. Matthews, supra; 42 U.S.C. ยง 423(d)(1)(A). As examples of objective evidence improperly considered by the ALJ, plaintiff points to three medical reports in the record. These reports are clinic progress records from three separate visits to the ...


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