United States District Court, E.D. California
ORDER DIRECTING ENTRY OF JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF
DEFENDANT NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
SECURITY, AND AGAINST PLAINTIFF SANDRA SINGH
S. AUSTIN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sandra Singh (“Plaintiff”), seeks judicial review
of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner” or “Defendant”)
denying her application for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) pursuant to Title II of the Social
Security Act. The matter is currently before the Court on the
parties' briefs (Docs. 11, 12, and 13) which were
submitted without oral argument to the Honorable Gary S.
Austin, United States Magistrate Judge. After reviewing
the administrative record, the Court finds the decision is
supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Court
denies Plaintiff's appeal.
BACKGROUND AND PRIOR PROCEEDINGS
previously worked as a program technician for the County of
Fresno for many years. AR 19; 36-37. She was was diagnosed
with lymphedema of the left arm in 2008 following a partial
mastectomy of the left breast, as well as restless leg
syndrome and hypertension. AR 1717. On November 7, 2012, she
filed an application for DIB alleging disability beginning
October 18, 2012. AR 11; 150-157. The parties agree that
Plaintiff properly exhausted her administrative remedies and
that the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's appeal. (Doc.
11, pg. 3 and Doc. 12, pg. 1-2). Therefore, this appeal is a
review of Administrative Law Judge Cynthia Floyd's
(“ALJ”) decision issued on May 22, 2015, which is
considered the Commissioner's final order. See,
42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3). AR 11-22.
Summary of the Medical Record
Court has reviewed the entire medical record. AR 216-1810.
Because the parties are familiar with the factual background
of this case, including Plaintiff's medical history, the
Court will not exhaustively summarize these facts in this
order. Relevant portions of the medical record related to
Plaintiff's physical impairments and treatment raised in
this appeal will be referenced in this decision where
THE DISABILITY DETERMINATION PROCESS
qualify for benefits under the Social Security Act, a
plaintiff must establish that he or she is unable to engage
in substantial gainful activity due to a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment that has lasted or
can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less
than twelve months. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A). An
individual shall be considered to have a disability only if:
. . . his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of
such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous
work, but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy, regardless of
whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.
42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B).
achieve uniformity in the decision-making process, the
Commissioner has established a sequential five-step process
for evaluating a claimant's alleged disability. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a). The ALJ proceeds through the steps and
stops upon reaching a dispositive finding that the claimant
is or is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4). The
ALJ must consider objective medical evidence and opinion
testimony. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1513.
the ALJ is required to determine: (1) whether a claimant
engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period of
alleged disability; (2) whether the claimant had
medically-determinable “severe” impairments; (3)
whether these impairments meet or are medically equivalent to
one of the listed impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. §
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (4) whether the claimant retained
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform his past relevant work; and (5) whether the ...