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Folger v. Berryhill

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

September 20, 2018

AUDREY FOLGER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SSA, Defendant.

          KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.

          OPINION AND ORDER

         The plaintiff Audrey Folger brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of an administrative decision denying her claim for Supplemental Security Income Benefits. The Court, having reviewed the record, will affirm the Commissioner's 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., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir.2009).

         In denying Folger's claim, the ALJ engaged in the five-step sequential process set forth in the regulations under the Social Security Act (the “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 Folger had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 22, 2013. (Administrative Record (“AR”) at 15.)

         At step two, the ALJ determined that Folger suffered from the severe impairment of mild mental disability. (AR at 15.)

         At step three, the ALJ found that Folger does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments. (AR at 18.)

         Before proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Folger has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations:

The claimant requires entry level work with simple repetitive 1-2-3 step procedures. She can tolerate only occasional changes in work routines. She cannot perform work that requires detailed or complex problem-solving, independent planning or the setting of goals. She should work in an object-oriented environment with only occasional and casual contact with coworkers, supervisors, or the general public. There should be no requirement for literacy.

(AR at 19.)

         At step four, the ALJ determined that Folger does not have past relevant work. (AR at 21.)

         At step five, the ALJ determined that, considering the RFC described above and Folger's age, education, and work experience, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that Folger can perform and, thus, she is not disabled. (AR at 21.)

         Folger argues that the ALJ erred in failing to find that she did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meet or medically equal the severity of the impairment at Listing 12.05(c). At the time of the ALJ's decision, that listing required claimant to demonstrate an IQ of 60 through 70 and “a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function.” Folger argues that the ALJ erred in failing to find that her anxiety imposed significant work-related limitations on her.

         Folger points to the treatment notes of her social worker at Comprehensive Care, Lee Hunt, which indicate that Folger has poor coping skills and impaired social functioning. First, a social worker is not an “acceptable medical source.” See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1513(a), (d), 416.913(a), (d); see also Payne v. Commissioner, 402 Fed.Appx. 109, (6th Cir.2010) (“[S]ocial workers are not acceptable medical sources under social security regulations.”). There is no “treating social worker rule, ” and the opinion of a social worker is ...


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