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Henderson v. Berryhill

United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Savannah Division

January 22, 2019

GLADYS MARIE HENDERSON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          CHRISTOPHER L. RAY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Gladys Marie Henderson seeks judicial review of the Social Security Administration's denial of her application for Disability Insurance (DIB) benefits.

         I. GOVERNING STANDARDS

         In social security cases, courts

. . . review the Commissioner's decision for substantial evidence. Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011). “Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. (quotation omitted). . . . “We may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute our judgment for that of the Commissioner.” Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178 (quotation and brackets omitted). “If the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence, this Court must affirm, even if the proof preponderates against it.” Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted).

Mitchell v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 771 F.3d 780, 782 (11th Cir. 2014).

         The burden of proving disability lies with the claimant. Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir. 2005). The ALJ applies

. . . a five-step, “sequential” process for determining whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(1). If an ALJ finds a claimant disabled or not disabled at any given step, the ALJ does not go on to the next step. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4). At the first step, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). At the second step, the ALJ must determine whether the impairment or combination of impairments for which the claimant allegedly suffers is “severe.” Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). At the third step, the ALJ must decide whether the claimant's severe impairments meet or medically equal a listed impairment. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii). If not, the ALJ must then determine at step four whether the claimant has the RFC[1] to perform her past relevant work. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant cannot perform her past relevant work, the ALJ must determine at step five whether the claimant can make an adjustment to other work, considering the claimant's RFC, age, education, and work experience. An ALJ may make this determination either by applying the Medical Vocational Guidelines or by obtaining the testimony of a [Vocational Expert (VE)].

Stone v. Comm'r. of Soc. Sec. Admin., 596 F. App'x, 878, 879 (11th Cir. 2015) (footnote added).

         II. ANALYSIS

         Henderson, who was 47 years old on her date last insured, alleges disability beginning February 1, 2006. Tr. 16, 33, 126. She completed high school and one year of college, and has past work experience as a billing clerk, inventory clerk, and data entry clerk. Tr. 78-79, 240-50, 253, 279-86. After a hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. Tr. 16-24. He found that plaintiff's osteoarthritis and major joint dysfunction constituted severe impairments, but none met or medically equaled a Listing. Tr. 18-20. Based on the evidence of record, the ALJ found that Henderson retained the RFC to perform light work with additional restrictions. Tr. 20. She

could occasionally push and/or pull with the right upper extremity;
could occasionally reach overhead with the right upper ...

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