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Nancy G. v. Saul

United States District Court, D. Minnesota

October 15, 2019

Nancy G., Plaintiff,
v.
Andrew Saul, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

          Mac Schneider, (for Plaintiff); and

          Kizuwanda Curtis, Assistant Regional Counsel, (for Defendant).

          ORDER

          Steven E. Rau United States Magistrate Judge

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Nancy G. contests Defendant Commissioner of Social Security's denial of her application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-34. The parties filed cross-motions for summary judgment and consented to a final judgment from the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and D. Minn. LR 7.2. For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies Plaintiff's motion and grants Defendant's motion.

         II. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed the instant action for DIB in April 2016, alleging a disability onset date of March 26, 2014. Plaintiff alleged impairments of, among others, degenerative discs, hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and depression. Plaintiff was found not disabled and that finding was affirmed upon reconsideration. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ). A hearing was held and the ALJ granted Plaintiff's request to amend the alleged onset date to November 19, 2015. The ALJ issued a decision on February 28, 2018 denying Plaintiff's claim for DIB. Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ's decision through the Appeals Council, which denied review. Plaintiff then sought review in this court.

         B. The ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ found that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of both the lumbar spine and cervical spine. (Tr. 20). The ALJ determined that Plaintiff 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. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1. (Tr. 21). The ALJ considered Listing 1.04 (disorders of the spine). The ALJ determined that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:

perform light work . . . except she can lift up to 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently. She can sit for 6 hours in an 8 hour workday with normal breaks and stand for 6 hours in an 8 hour workday with normal breaks. She can never climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She can only occasionally climb stairs or ramps, balance (as defined in the SCO), stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl. She can tolerate only occasional exposure to work around hazards such as dangerous moving machinery and unprotected heights. She should do no reaching overhead bilaterally. She is limited to frequent (not constant) handling bilaterally.

(Tr. 21-22). The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work, but there are jobs in the national economy that she could perform. (Tr. 26-27). The ALJ therefore found that Plaintiff was not disabled from November 19, 2015 through the date of the decision. (Tr. 28).

         III. ANALYSIS

         A. ...


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