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Young v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Nebraska

April 20, 2015

VIAN YOUNG, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN J. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

RICHARD G. KOPF, Senior District Judge.

In this social security appeal, plaintiff Vivian Young ("Young") argues that the Commissioner of Social Security committed reversible error in determining that she is not entitled to disability insurance benefits. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's decision is reversed and remanded.

I. BACKGROUND

On March 16, 2011, Young filed her application for disability insurance benefits. (Tr. 118-119.) Young's claims were denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. 60, 63, 64-67, 71-74.) Thereafter, Young filed a written request for a hearing. (Tr. 11.) A hearing was held on November 1, 2012, and on November 13, 2012, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") concluded that she was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act. (Tr. 11-20.) In her decision, the ALJ followed the five-step sequential analysis prescribed by the Social Security Regulations to evaluate Young's claims.[1] See 20 C.F.R. ยง 416.1520(a). The ALJ found as follows:

1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on June 30, 2012, but not thereafter.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of January 18, 2011, through her date last insured of June 30, 2012. (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. )
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder, status post fusion of the cervical spine in March of 2011, and diabetes. (20 CFR 404.1520(c))
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (20 CFR 416.920(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526)
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to occasionally lift and carry up to 20 pounds and 10 pounds frequently. The claimant can understand, and remember and carry out short and simple instructions under ordinary supervision, can sustain attention and concentration for tasks and carry them out in a simple job setting. The claimant can persist in tasks and follow through and complete them, can interact appropriately with co-workers and supervisors, can handle social interactions adequately on the job and could adapt to changes on the job.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a cashier (DOT#211.426-010 light, unskilled). This work did not require the performance of work related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity. (20 CFR 404.1565)
7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from January 18, 2011, the alleged onset date, through June 30, 2012, the date last insured. (20 CFR 404.1520(f))

(Tr. 13-20.) After the ALJ issued his decision, Young filed a request for a review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 1, 7.) On November 20, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Young's request for review. (Tr. 1-6.) Thus, the ALJ's decision stands as the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A denial of benefits by the Commissioner is reviewed to determine whether the denial is supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Hogan v. Apfel, 239 F.3d 958, 960 (8th Cir. 2001). "Substantial evidence" is less than a preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner's conclusion. Id. at 960-61; Prosch v. Apfel, 201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th Cir. 2000). Evidence that both supports and detracts from the Commissioner's decision must be considered, but the decision may ...


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