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Roberson v. Astrue

June 22, 2010

CHERYL LYNNE ROBERSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Suzanne H. Segal United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Cheryl Lynne Roberson ("Plaintiff") seeks review of the decision of Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner" or the "Agency") denying her application for Social Security Disability Insurance ("SSDI") benefits. For the reasons stated below, the decision of the Agency is AFFIRMED.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed an application for benefits on October 4, 2005, alleging disability beginning on July 1, 2004. (Administrative Record ("AR") 13). Plaintiff alleged disability due to physical impairments stemming from scleroderma, diabetes and neuropathy. (AR 104-05). The Agency denied Plaintiff's claim initially and on reconsideration. (AR 50, 59). On February 16, 2007, Plaintiff sought a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge. (AR 65).

On May 6, 2008, Administrative Law Judge Jay E. Levine ("the ALJ") conducted a hearing. (AR 10-22). On November 19, 2008, the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. (AR 10-22). Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ's decision before the Appeals Council. (AR 8). The Appeals Council declined review on June 5, 2009, (AR 5), and Plaintiff filed the present action on July 24, 2009.

III. FACTUAL HISTORY

Plaintiff was born on November 11, 1963. (AR 96). She completed high school and earned an associate's degree. (AR 358). Before alleging disability, Plaintiff worked as a cashier, billing clerk, and bank teller. (AR 105). She last worked on July 1, 2004. (Id.). She alleged that she had to quit her last job due to severe pain all over her body. (Id.).

Dr. Steven Gerson examined Plaintiff on October 4, 2004 during an internal medicine consultative evaluation. (AR 147). He determined that Plaintiff suffers from tenderness and stiffness throughout her body. (AR 150-51). However, he also stated that Plaintiff "should be able to lift 10 lbs frequently, 20 lbs occasionally. She could stand and walk for 2 hours in an 8-hour workday and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday." (AR 151).

An October 25, 2004 residual functional capacity assessment produced similar results.*fn1 The assessment notes that Plaintiff can lift items of up to ten pounds occasionally, stand or walk for at least two hours in an eight hour workday, and sit about six hours in an eight hour workday. (AR 155). In the "Symptoms" section of the assessment, the report indicates that Plaintiff's alleged pain symptoms are attributable to a medically determinable impairment. (AR 159). However, the report also reads that "the severity or duration of the symptom(s)... is disproportionate to the expected severity or expected duration" of Plaintiff's impairments. (AR 159).

Plaintiff's husband filled out a third-party function report describing Plaintiff's condition on October 28, 2005. (AR 129-36). He reported that Plaintiff can do some household chores with assistance, (AR 131), but that she needed to use a wheelchair or walker "every day."

(AR 135). He also stated that Plaintiff can only walk "about 20 steps" before needing to rest. (AR 134).

Dr. Jamshid Tamiry also examined Plaintiff during a December 6, 2005 internal medicine consultation. (AR 174). He diagnosed Plaintiff with diabetes, obesity, schleroderma, and diabetic retinopathy. (AR 179-80). Dr. Tamiry determined that Plaintiff "can lift and carry 10 pounds occasionally." (AR 180). He also determined that Plaintiff can stand or walk for up to two hours and sit for up to six hours per day. (Id.).

A December 14, 2005 residual functional capacity assessment noted that Plaintiff can lift items of up to ten pounds occasionally, stand or walk for at least two hours in an eight hour workday, and sit ...


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