Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Crispin v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Idaho

September 27, 2016

DEANNA CRISPIN, Petitioner,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Respondent.

          MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER

          HONORABLE CANDY W. DALE, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         INTRODUCTION

         Pending before the Court is the Petition for Review of Respondent's denial of widow's disability Social Security Insurance Benefits filed by Deanna Crispin on July 1, 2015. (Dkt. 1.) Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties consented to the exercise of jurisdiction over this matter by the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge. (Dkt. 9.) The Court has reviewed the Petition for Review and the Answer, the parties' memoranda, and the administrative record (AR), and for the reasons that follow, will affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         PROCEDURAL AND FACTUAL HISTORY

         Petitioner filed an application for widow's disability Social Security Insurance Benefits on February 28, 2012, claiming disability beginning November 1, 2009, due to right median entrapment neuropathy, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, gastritis, and obesity. Her application was denied initially and again on reconsideration, and a hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Lori Freund on August 14, 2013. After hearing testimony from Petitioner and a vocational expert, ALJ Freund issued a decision finding Petitioner not disabled on October 22, 2013. On May 6, 2015, the Appeals Council denied Petitioner's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final agency decision. Petitioner appealed this final decision to the Court. The Court has jurisdiction to review the ALJ's decision pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         Petitioner was born on December 27, 1960. She graduated from high school and completed two years of college, and her prior work experience includes work as a home attendant, a massage therapist, and a caretaker for the elderly. (AR 74, 80.)

         SEQUENTIAL PROCESS

         The Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation for determining whether a claimant is disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920. At step one, it must be determined whether the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity. The ALJ found Petitioner has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date, November 1, 2009. At step two, it must be determined whether the claimant suffers from a severe impairment. The ALJ found Petitioner's right median neuropathy, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, gastritis, and obesity severe within the meaning of the Regulations.

         Step three asks whether a claimant's impairment meets or equals a listed impairment. The ALJ found none of Petitioner's severe impairments met or equaled its corresponding listing requirements, specifically considering Listing 1.04 (disorders of the spine), listings under 5.00 (digestive), and 11.14 (peripheral neuropathies). Additionally, the ALJ found, primarily based on lack of medical source opinions to the contrary, Petitioner's obesity, while severe, had not exacerbated her other severe impairments such that they met or medically equaled a listing. If a claimant's impairments do not meet or equal a listing, the Commissioner must assess the claimant's residual functional capacity (RFC) and determine, at step four, whether the claimant has demonstrated an inability to perform past relevant work.

         The ALJ found Petitioner was not able to perform past relevant work as a home attendant. If a claimant demonstrates an inability to perform past relevant work, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to demonstrate, at step five, that the claimant retains the capacity to make an adjustment to other work that exists in significant levels in the national economy, after considering the claimant's residual functional capacity, age, education and work experience.

         Here, the ALJ found Petitioner retained the RFC to perform light work, with limitations restricting her to a position with a sit/stand option that allows position changes at 60-minute intervals; she could occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, climb ramps or stairs, but could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; and she would need to avoid exposure to excessive vibration, hazardous machinery, and unprotected heights. With this RFC, the ALJ determined Petitioner could perform the requirements of representative occupations such as laundry worker, marker or pricer, and cashier II.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Petitioner bears the burden of showing that disability benefits are proper because of the inability “to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which ... has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); see also 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A); Rhinehart v. Finch, 438 F.2d 920, 921 (9th Cir. 1971). An individual will be determined to be disabled only if her physical or mental impairments are of such severity that she not only cannot do her previous work but is unable, considering her age, education, and work experience, to engage in any other kind of substantial gainful work that exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A).

         On review, the Court is instructed to uphold the decision of the Commissioner if the decision is supported by substantial evidence and is not the product of legal error. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Universal Camera Corp. v. Nat'l Labor Relations Bd., 340 U.S. 474 (1951); Meanel v. Apfel, 172 F.3d 1111, 1113 (9th Cir. 1999) (as amended); DeLorme v. Sullivan, 924 F.2d 841, 846 (9th Cir. 1991). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence a reasonable mind would accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). It is more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance, Jamerson v ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.