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Elvia H. Alcantar v. Michael J. Astrue

December 7, 2011

ELVIA H. ALCANTAR, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act ("Act"). For the reasons that follow, the undersigned recommends that plaintiff's motion for summary judgment be granted in part, defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment be denied, the case be remanded for further proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), and that judgment be entered for plaintiff. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born March 6, 1961, applied on May 2, 2008 for DIB alleging that she became disabled on October 12, 2007 (Tr. at 16, 29, 108-115, 124-133.) Plaintiff contended that she was unable to work primarily due to hyperthyroidism and atrial fibrillation. (Tr. at 28-29, 128.)

In a decision dated November 19, 2009, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Timothy S. Snelling determined plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. at 21.) The ALJ made the following findings:*fn1

1. Claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 1, 2012.

2. Claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 12, 2007, the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR § 404.1571 et seq.).

3. Claimant has the following medically severe combination of impairments: a history of atrial fibrillation, induced by hyperthyroidism, a history of Graves disease, a history of gastrointestinal bleed secondary to medication, a history of multi-nodular goiter, hypertension - controlled with medication, anemia, and borderline cardiomegaly with mild septal hypokinesis and trace mitral regurgitation (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).

4. 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 §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a wide range of light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) so long as she does not climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; avoids exposure to moderate hot and cold temperature extremes; and avoids all exposure to hazardous machinery and heights.

6. Claimant is capable of performing her past relevant work as a hospital laundry worker. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).

7. Claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 12, 2007 through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).

(Tr. at 16-21.)

ISSUES PRESENTED

Although plaintiff identifies six issues in her motion for summary judgment, several of these issues overlap to a significant degree and are not presented in an order that logically comports with the five-step sequential evaluation process. When carefully scrutinized, plaintiff's motion actually presents four issues for review: (1) whether the ALJ erred in his evaluation of the medical opinion evidence; (2) whether the ALJ improperly discounted plaintiff's subjective complaints; (3) whether the ALJ improperly assessed ...


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