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Hilton v. Astrue

September 24, 2010

DIANA J. HILTON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

This social security action was submitted to the court, without oral argument, for ruling on plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.*fn1 For the reasons explained below, plaintiff's motion is granted, the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) is reversed, and this matter is remanded for further proceedings consistent with this order.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On September 30, 2004, plaintiff applied for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (Act), alleging disability beginning on February 1, 2004, based on interstitial cystitis-bladder, depression, panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Transcript (Tr.) at 38, 46, 54-57.) The application was denied initially on January 6, 2005, and upon reconsideration on March 21, 2005. (Tr. at 38-50.) Pursuant to plaintiff's timely request, a hearing was held before an administrative law judge (ALJ) on May 11, 2006. (Tr. at 51-52, 488-530.) Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified at the hearing, as did a vocational expert. (Tr. at 488-89.) In a decision issued on September 19, 2006, the ALJ determined that plaintiff had not been under a disability since September 30, 2004, the date her application was filed. (Tr. at 14-24.) The ALJ entered the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 1, 2004, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

2. The claimant has the following severe combination of impairments: rectal and bladder prolapse and interstitial cystitis (20 CFR 416.920(c)).

3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).

4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to lift 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, walk/stand six hours, sit six hours, and jobs with access to a bathroom (these limitations are supported by her rectal and bladder prolapse and interstitial cystitis), and she has no postural, manipulative, visual, communicative, mental, or environmental limitations.

5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).

6. The claimant was born on July 28, 1966 and was 38 years old on the date the application was filed, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44 (20 CFR 416.963).

7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).

8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).

9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.960(c) and 416.966).

10. The claimant has not been under a "disability," as defined in the Social Security Act, since September 20, 2004 (20 CFR 416.920(g)), the date the application was filed.

(Tr. at 16-24.) On August 21, 2008, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision. (Tr. at 6-10.) Plaintiff sought judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. ยง 405(g) by ...


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