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Young v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville

April 23, 2018

PAULA L. YOUNG PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Dave Whalin, United States District Court Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Paula Young has filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security that denied her application for disability insurance benefits (DIB). Young applied for DIB on April 14, 2014, alleging that she was disabled as of May 15, 2012, due to torticollis, dystonia, cervical degenerative disc disease, complex regional pain syndrome, left breast carcinoma status-post bilateral breast surgeries, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Tr.21). The Commissioner denied Young's claims on initial consideration (Tr. 88-101) and on reconsideration (Tr. 102-117). Young requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) (Tr.132).

         ALJ William C. Zuber conducted a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky, on Jan. 4, 2016 (Tr.36-87). Young attended with her attorney, Kevin McDowell (Tr. 36). Young and vocational expert (VE) Tina Stanbaugh testified at the hearing (Tr.39-76, 77-87). Following the conclusion of the hearing, ALJ Zuber entered a hearing decision on May 25, 2016 that found Young is not disabled for the purposes of the Social Security Act (Tr.19-30).

         In his adverse decision, ALJ Zuber made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 15, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1571, et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: torticollis, dystonia, cervical degenerative disc disease, complex regional pain syndrome, left breast carcinoma status-post bilateral breast surgeries, depression, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(c)).
4. The claimant does 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 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that she needs the option to sit and stand every 30-45 minutes. She could occasionally climb ramps and stairs, stoop, and crouch. She could never crawl, kneel, or climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She could not reach overhead. She could not be exposed to vibration, dangerous machinery, or unprotected heights. She could only perform simple, routine, 1-2 step tasks that are not fast-paced or quota driven. She could have frequent contact with coworkers, supervisors, and the general public. She could only adapt to changes in work routine or environment that are rare and gradually introduced. She could sustain concentration, persistence, and pace for two-hour periods.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on August 19, 1966, and was 45-years-old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 C.F.R. 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferrable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App. 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant ...

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