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Kimberly Jo Arcuri v. William H. Baughman

October 20, 2011

KIMBERLY JO ARCURI,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM H. BAUGHMAN, JR. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William H. Baughman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER MAGISTRATE JUDGE

Introduction

Before me*fn1 is an action for judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying the applications of the plaintiff, Kimberly Jo Arcuri, for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income.*fn2 The Commissioner, in response, seeks affirmation of that decision.*fn3 The parties have briefed their respective positions*fn4 and participated in a telephonic oral argument on this matter.*fn5

For the reasons that follow, the Commissioner's decision will be affirmed.

Facts

A. Background

This is case involves a decision to terminate benefits. Essentially, the ALJ found that Arcuri's impairment, for which she had previously been found disabled, had improved to such an extent that she now has the residual functional capacity to do her past relevant work or perform other jobs in the national economy.

In brief, Acuri was originally found disabled in 1998 from an organic mental disorder -- a condition resulting from a brain aneurysm.*fn6 Arcuri was found to still be disabled from the same condition in 2002.*fn7 However, based on: (1) the results of a consultative psychological examination in 2005; (2) a 2006 report by a state agency reviewing psychologist; (3) results from emergency room visits in 2006 and 2008; and (4) 2008 visits to a counselor and a psychiatrist; the ALJ concluded in 2009 that the impairment present in 2002 had decreased in medical severity to the point that Arcuri was no longer disabled.*fn8

The ALJ in that 2009 decision further noted that although Arcuri had very recently been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder,*fn9 that diagnosis did not meet the applicable listing.*fn10

As to Arcuri's residual functional capacity (RFC), the ALJ found that she had the capacity to perform work at any exertional level, with the provision that such work be limited to "only simple, routine tasks with little decision making required."*fn11 As such, the ALJ determined that Arcuri could perform her past work as a cashier.*fn12 Alternatively, relying upon the testimony of a vocational expert (VE), the ALJ found that there were significant numbers of other jobs in the national economy available to Arcuri.*fn13

B. The parties' positions

Arcuri argues that substantial evidence does not support the Commissioner's decision to terminate benefits. To that end, she contends that contrary to the ALJ's finding, she has continued to experience the same symptoms she had when she was judged disabled.*fn14 In particular, she points to a CT scan taken in 2006 that she maintains does not show any improvement of her condition.*fn15 Further, she asserts that she has had persistent headaches affecting her vision since the surgery for the aneurysm, as well as sleep problems.*fn16

While she acknowledges that there have been periods when she did not seek "formal mental health treatment," she contends that this failure to seek treatment is frequently a symptom of mental health problems, and does not of itself negate the evidence, cited above, that her "mental health problems and complaints" have been consistently asserted.*fn17

Moreover, she contends that the ALJ should have considered all the limiting factors -- such as depression, right side swelling, pain, numbness and headaches -- in assessing ...


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