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Joyce Thompson v. Commissioner of Social Security

March 21, 2012

JOYCE THOMPSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Plaintiff, who is proceeding pro se, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pending before the court are plaintiff's motion for remand (Doc. 24) and defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 29). For the reasons discussed below, the court will recommend that plaintiff's motion for remand be denied and that the Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment be granted.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY*fn1

Plaintiff applied for social security benefits in July, 2008 alleging an onset of disability on July 1, 2008 due to physical and mental impairments. (Certified administrative record ("CAR") 31, 156-170.) Specifically, plaintiff claims disability based on impairments due to fibromyalgia, anxiety, obsessive/compulsive disorder, visual impairment, headaches, a heart condition, an abdominal condition, shortness of breath, back and neck pain and Chiari Malformation syndrome. Plaintiff's claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, which was held on January 20, 2010, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") William Thompson, Jr. Plaintiff was represented at the hearing by counsel. In a March 3, 2010 decision, the ALJ concluded that plaintiff is not disabled*fn2 based on the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act though June 30, 2021.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 1, 2008, the alleged onset date.

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia; anxiety.

4. 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.

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work . . . except she can lift or carry up to 20 pounds occasionally, 10 pounds frequently. She can stand or walking [sic] in combination up to 6 hours, and sit up to 6 hours. She can occasionally bend, squat, crawl, kneel, twist, stoop or climb stairs, but should not climb ladders, ropes or scaffolding. She should not work around heights or hazardous machinery. She is limited to work involving simple instructions.

6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a cashier. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity.

7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 1, 2008 through the date of this decision.

CAR 31-50 (citations to CFR omitted). After the Appeals Council declined review on February 2, 2010, this appeal followed.

Step five: Does the claimant have the residual functional capacity to perform any other work? If so, the claimant is not disabled. ...


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