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Propps v. Astrue

May 2, 2010

MARLENE PROPPS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Dennis L. Beck United States Magistrate Judge

ORDER REGARDING PLAINTIFF'S SOCIAL SECURITY COMPLAINT

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Marlene Propps ("Plaintiff") seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for supplemental security income pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the parties' briefs, which were submitted, without oral argument, to the Honorable Dennis L. Beck, United States Magistrate Judge.

FACTS AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS*fn1

Plaintiff filed her application on October 15, 2005, alleging disability since March 1, 1990, due to a learning disability, depression, arthritis and diabetes. AR 195-197, 205-211. After Plaintiff's application was denied initially and on reconsideration, she requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 151-154, 157-161, 163. On October 28, 2008, ALJ Michael Haubner held a hearing. AR 21-55. He denied benefits on February 4, 2009. AR 9-20. The Appeals Council denied review on April 29, 2009. AR 1-3.

Plaintiff filed a prior application in 1999. Following a hearing, ALJ James Baker denied benefits on June 16, 2003. AR 121-133.

Hearing Testimony

ALJ Haubner held a hearing on October 28, 2008, in Fresno, California. Plaintiff appeared with her representative, Michael Ochoa. Vocational expert ("VE") Cheryl Chandler also appeared and testified. AR 21.

Plaintiff testified that she was born in 1959 and completed the 11th grade. AR 28. Plaintiff could not remember why she picked the date of March 1, 1990, as her onset date. She has never had a job. AR 29.

Plaintiff last used drugs and alcohol in 1999. She lives with her son and daughter. Plaintiff has never had a driver's license and relies on rides from people for transportation. AR 29-30.

Plaintiff testified that she does not make her bed, but changes her sheets twice a week. She does not do laundry, though when questioned further, she testified that she did it once a week. Plaintiff is able to make simple meals once a day, but she doesn't do dishes often. AR 33-34. Her children take out the trash and care for the pets. AR 35. Plaintiff goes to the grocery store about once a month. AR 36. She does not go to church and does not visit friends. Plaintiff spends about five hours a day on the phone and sits and watches television. AR 37. Plaintiff has had prior arrests or convictions for child endangerment, driving under the influence and receiving stolen property. AR 40-41.

Plaintiff testified that she is fully compliant with her treatment, though she admitted that she does not exercise and has not lost weight, as directed by her physician. AR 38. She estimated that she followed her diabetes eating plan about 50 percent of the time. AR 39.

Plaintiff thought that she could lift and carry about three pounds and could stand for about five to ten minutes. She thought she could sit for about 30 minutes and could walk about "ten feet out of [her] house." AR 41. Plaintiff testified that she would need to elevate her feet for about three to four hours total out of an eight hour day. AR 43. She could pay attention to something for 30 minutes AR 43.

For the first hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume a person of Plaintiff's age, education and experience. This person could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 25 pounds frequently, and could occasionally bend, stoop and crouch. The VE testified that this person could perform light work, including the jobs of production assistant, hand packager and laundry worker/housekeeper. AR 46-47.

For the second hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume that this person could lift and carry 50 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently, and could occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, and kneel. This person could not crawl or climb. This person could perform the same positions identified in the first hypothetical. AR 47.

For the third hypothetical, the ALJ asked the VE to assume a person who could lift and carry 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently, and could sit, stand and walk six hours each. This person could ...


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