United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EFPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Ok Williams appeals the decision of the Acting Commissioner
of Social Security denying her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under the Social
Security Act. Upon consideration of the briefs submitted by
both parties, the record evidence, and the relevant statutory
and case law, the Court REPORTS and
RECOMMENDS the Commissioner's final
decision be AFFIRMED, this civil action be
CLOSED, and a final judgment be
ENTERED in favor of the Commissioner.
applied for DIB in July of 2017, alleging a disability onset
date of October 28, 2013. Tr. (“R.”), pp. 159-60.
Plaintiff's last insured date for purposes of the DIB
application is December 31, 2018. R. 183. Plaintiff was
fifty-nine years old on her alleged disability onset date.
Id. Plaintiff applied for benefits based on
allegations of stage three breast cancer and neuropathy. R.
187. Plaintiff has a twelfth grade education and completed
some specialized job training, trade, or vocational school at
Augusta Tech. R. 188. Prior to her alleged disability,
Plaintiff had accrued relevant work history as a payroll
clerk, accountant, and cost accountant. R. 16, 188.
Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's
applications initially, R. 67-75, and on reconsideration, R.
76-85. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), R. 98-99, and the ALJ held a
hearing on March 3, 2017. R. 22-66. At the hearing, the ALJ
heard testimony from Plaintiff, who was represented by
counsel, as well as from Mary L. Cornelius, M.S., a
Vocational Expert (“VE”). Id. On March
29, 2017, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. R. 7-21.
the sequential process required by 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520,
the ALJ found:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 28, 2013, the alleged onset date (20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1571 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy and asthma (20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(c)).
3. 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,
4. The claimant has the RFC to perform sedentary work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a) with further
limitation to lifting and carrying 10 pounds occasionally and
less than 10 pounds frequently; no standing or walking over
an aggregate of 2 hours in an 8 hour workday; no more than
occasional stooping, balancing, crouching, kneeling, or
climbing of stairs or ramps; no crawling or climbing of
ladders, ropes or scaffolds; no exposure to high ambient
noise environment greater than standard office noise; and no
concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, gases, odors, extremes
of humidity, heat or cold. Thus, the claimant is capable of
performing past relevant work (20 C.F.R. § 404.1565).
5. Therefore, Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as
defined in the Social Security Act, from October 28, 2013,
through the date of the decision (20 C.F.R. §
the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's
request for review, R. 1-6, the Commissioner's decision
became “final” for the purpose of judicial
review. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff then filed this
civil action requesting reversal or remand of that adverse
argues the Commissioner's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence because the ALJ failed to properly: (1)
weigh the opinion evidence in determining Plaintiff's
RFC; and (2) develop the record. See doc. no. 12
(“Pl.'s Br.”). The Commissioner maintains the
decision to deny Plaintiff benefits is supported by