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Lidia A. Fregoso v. Michael J. Astrue

June 14, 2012

LIDIA A. FREGOSO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Jacqueline Chooljian United States Magistrate Judge

I. SUMMARY

MEMORANDUM OPINION

On November 17, 2011, plaintiff Lidia A. Fregoso ("plaintiff") filed a Complaint seeking review of the Commissioner of Social Security's denial of plaintiff's application for benefits. The parties have consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge.

This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for summary judgment, respectively ("Plaintiff's Motion") and ("Defendant's Motion"). The Court has taken both motions under submission without oral argument. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 78; L.R. 7-15; November 22, 2011 Case Management Order ¶ 5.

Based on the record as a whole and the applicable law, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED. The findings of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") are supported by substantial evidence and are free from material error.*fn1

II. BACKGROUND AND SUMMARY OF ADMINISTRATIVE DECISION On August 16, 2007, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security

Income ("SSI") benefits. (Administrative Record ("AR") 121). Plaintiff asserted that she became disabled on April 1, 2002, due to diabetes, hypertension, morbid obesity, arthritis, respiratory problems, congestive heart failure, heel spur on right food, depression, and anxiety. (AR 137-38). The ALJ examined the medical record and heard testimony from plaintiff (who was represented by counsel) and a vocational expert on September 23, 2009. (AR 28-46).

On November 6, 2009, the ALJ determined that plaintiff was not disabled through the date of the decision. (AR 11-22). Specifically, the ALJ found:

(1) plaintiff suffered from the following severe impairments: morbid obesity, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, edema of the lower extremities, and history of bronchitis (AR 13); (2) plaintiff's impairments, considered singly or in combination, did not meet or medically equal a listed impairment (AR 13);

(3) plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity to perform light work (20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b)) with certain additional exertional limitations (AR 13); *fn2

(4) plaintiff has no past relevant work (AR 20); (5) there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff could perform, specifically cashier (AR 21); and (6) plaintiff's allegations regarding her limitations were not credible to the extent they were inconsistent with the ALJ's residual functional capacity assessment (AR 19).

The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's application for review. (AR 1).

III. APPLICABLE LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Sequential Evaluation ...


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