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Forbes v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division

March 30, 2017

SARA C. FORBES, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, [1]Defendant.

          OPINION AND ORDER

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE

         Plaintiff Sara C. Forbes brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of an administrative decision denying her claim for disability insurance benefits. The Court, having reviewed the record, will remand this matter to the Commissioner for further consideration.

         I. Procedural background and the administrative decision

         This Court's review of the decision by the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) is limited to determining whether it “is supported by substantial evidence and was made pursuant to proper legal standards.” Rabbers v. Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).

         Forbes was born in June 1977 and sought disability insurance benefits for bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and fibromyalgia. (Administrative Record (“AR”) at 62). In denying her claim, the ALJ engaged in the five-step sequential process set forth in the regulations under the Social Security Act. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)-(e); see, e.g., Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 529 (6th Cir. 1997).

         At step one, the ALJ determined that Forbes has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 16, 2012. (AR at 12).

         At step two, the ALJ found that Forbes has the following severe impairments: disorders of the spine, fibromyalgia, and affective disorders. (AR at 12).

         At step three, the ALJ found that Forbes did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (AR at 13).

         Before proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Forbes has the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1576(c) except:

the claimant can stand and walk for only six hours total in an eight-hour workday; claimant can sit for only six hours total in an eight-hour workday; claimant can only frequently climb ladders, ropes and scaffolds; claimant can only frequently stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; claimant can only frequently reach overhead bilaterally; work is limited to simple, routine and repetitive tasks performed in a work environment free of fast paced production requirements involving only simple, work-related decisions and with few, if any, work place changes; claimant should have only occasional interaction with the general public, only occasional interaction with co-workers and only occasional supervision.

(AR at 14).

         At step four, the ALJ found that Forbes is capable of performing past relevant work as a material coordinator, file clerk, store laborer, waitress, data entry clerk, and court clerk. (AR at 18).

         In the alternative, at step five, the ALJ determined that, considering the RFC described above and Forbes' age, education, and work experience, Forbes can perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy, and thus, she is not disabled. (AR at 19).

         The Appeals Council denied Forbes' request for review. (AR at 1). Forbes then ...


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