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Thurman v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 29, 2013

WANDA THURMAN, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

GREG WHITE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Wanda Thurman ("Thurman") challenges the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner"), denying Thurman's claim for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act ("Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 1381 et seq. This matter is before the Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and the consent of the parties entered under the authority of 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(2).

For the reasons set forth below, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

I. Procedural History

On May 4, 2009, Thurman filed an application for SSI alleging a disability onset date of February 14, 2009. (Tr. 13.) Her application was denied both initially and upon reconsideration. Thurman timely requested an administrative hearing.

On January 13, 2011, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing during which Thurman, represented by counsel, and an impartial vocational expert ("VE") testified. (Tr. 13.) On February 17, 2011, the ALJ found Thurman was able to perform a significant number of jobs in the national economy and, therefore, was not disabled. (Tr. 21.) The ALJ's decision became final when the Appeals Council denied further review.

II. Evidence

Personal and Vocational Evidence

Age forty-eight (48) at the time of her administrative hearing, Thurman is a "younger" person under social security regulations. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). (Tr. 21.) Thurman has at least a high school education and no past relevant work. Id.

Hearing Testimony

At the hearing, Thurman testified as follows:

• She has a bachelor's degree in sociology and criminology. She never had a job utilizing her degree. (Tr. 34-35.)
• She worked as a full-time parking attendant for two weeks until her father became ill. (Tr. 34-35.)
• In 2000, she worked full-time as a bank teller for one month, but stopped when her mother became ill. (Tr. 36.)
• She cannot work due to constant burning in her whole body. (Tr. 36.) Her feet feel as if "somebody's sticking pins in them." (Tr. 36-37.) She takes "twenty pills a day, " but they do not help. (Tr. 37.) Hot showers help temporarily alleviate her pain. (Tr. 37.)
• She has difficulty standing and walking. (Tr. 37-38.)
• She does not sleep well at night. (Tr. 38-39.)
• She washes dishes, but started dropping things two months ago. (Tr. 39-40.)
• She began staying with her companion two months earlier because using the stairs at her apartment came to be "too much." (Tr. 39.)
• In the past two months since she moved in with her companion, she does not cook, vacuum, or do laundry. Prior to that, it would take her twice as long to ...

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