United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. LIMBERT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Nicole Marie Robertson (“Plaintiff”) requests
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security Administration (“Defendant”)
denying her application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). ECF Dkt. #1. In her brief on the merits,
filed on December 2, 2016, Plaintiff asserts that the
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) erred in finding
that she did not meet Listing 12.05C. ECF Dkt. #15 at 8-12.
On February 13, 2017, Defendant filed a response brief. ECF
Dkt. #18. Plaintiff did not file a reply brief.
following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the ALJ
and dismisses the instant case in its entirety with
filed her application for SSI in February 2013. ECF Dkt. #12
(“Tr.”) at 170. In her application, Plaintiff
alleges disability beginning on October 1, 2006. Id.
The claim was denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Id. at 67-100. Following the denial, Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an ALJ, which was held on April 1,
2015. Id. at 42. On June 11, 2015, the ALJ denied
Plaintiff's application for SSI. Id. at 13.
Subsequently, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review of the ALJ's decision. Id. at
1. Accordingly, the decision issued by the ALJ on June 11,
2015, stands as the final decision.
29, 2016, Plaintiff filed the instant suit seeking review of
the ALJ's decision. ECF Dkt. #1. Plaintiff filed a brief
on the merits on December 2, 2016. ECF Dkt. #15. Defendant
filed a response brief on February 13, 2017. ECF Dkt. #18.
Plaintiff did not file a reply brief.
SUMMARY OF RELEVANT PORTIONS OF THE ALJ'S
decision issued on June 11, 2015, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since February 7, 2013, the date of her application for SSI.
Tr. at 18. Continuing, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: cervical spondylosis;
rediculitis; osteoarthritis of the left knee; seizure
disorder; obesity; asthma; diabetes mellitus; borderline
intellectual functioning; depressive disorder (not otherwise
specified); and a learning disability. Id. The ALJ
found that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the
severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Id.
making this finding, the ALJ discussed Listing 12.05C,
stating that Plaintiff did not meet the criteria of Listing
12.05C because she did not have a valid verbal, performance,
of full scale IQ of sixty through seventy and a physical or
mental impairment imposing an additional and significant
limitation of function. Id. at 21. The ALJ indicated
that to satisfy the criteria of Listing 12.05C, a claimant
must have sub-average intellectual functioning with deficits
in adaptive functioning initially manifesting before age
twenty-two. Id. at 21-22. After articulating the
requirements of Listing 12.05C, the ALJ determined that
despite her full scale IQ score of sixty-seven, Plaintiff
testified that she worked when she was younger while in
school. Id. at 22. The ALJ noted that Plaintiff had
worked at Ryan's, McDonald's, and Dollar General, and
that she was able to prepare salads and operate a fryer.
Id. Continuing, the ALJ indicated that Plaintiff had
no problems performing the multi-step task of hooking a
trailer up to a four-wheeler and hauling wood. Id.
Additionally, the ALJ stated that Plaintiff: was raising two
children; performed simple cooking and household chores; had
the ability to mow the lawn; and cared for her neighbor's
horses. Id. Further, the ALJ indicated that although
Plaintiff testified that she was unable to work due to
concentration and memory problems, as well as problems
counting change, she reported to the consultative examiner
that she did not want to work unless she was doing something
that she liked. Id. The ALJ also noted that
Plaintiff told her mental health clinician that she would
like to go to work. Id.
considering the record, that ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b), except
that Plaintiff: could frequently push or pull with the upper
extremities; could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
could occasionally kneel, crouch, or crawl; could frequently
climb ramps and stairs; could frequently stoop; could not
drive commercially; was limited to occasional exposure to
extreme cold, extreme heat, and irritants such as fumes,
odors, dusts, and gases; could never use hazardous machinery
or be exposed to unprotected heights; was limited to simple,
routine, repetitive tasks; was limited to work in a
low-stress job, defined as only occasional changes in the
work setting; and was limited to work allowing her to be off
task up to five percent of the workday. Tr. at 22.
discussing Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ addressed a
functional capacity evaluation (“FCE”) Plaintiff
underwent on April 23, 2013. Tr. at 25. The ALJ indicated
that the FCE report stated that Plaintiff was able to: lift
fifteen pounds from the floor to her shoulder; lift twenty
pounds from the floor to her waist; and lift twenty pounds
from her waist to her shoulder on an occasional basis.
Id. Continuing, the ALJ stated that the FCE report
indicated that Plaintiff demonstrated the ability to sit for
forty minutes at a time and stand for forty minutes at a
time. Id. The ALJ then found that the FCE report
showed that Plaintiff had no significant functional
limitations. Id. Next, the ALJ indicated that
Plaintiff's treating physician, Robert Herbert, D.O.,
accepted the findings and limitations from the FCE
essentially indicating that Plaintiff could perform light
work. Id. The ALJ assigned this portion of Dr.
Herbert's opinion great weight. Id. at 25 (citing
Tr. at 527-28).
the ALJ indicated that Plaintiff had no past relevant work,
was a younger individual on the date the application was
filed, had at least a high school education and was able to
communicate in English, and that the transferability of job
skills was not an issue because Plaintiff did not have past
relevant work. Tr. at 30. Considering Plaintiff's age,
education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ determined that
jobs existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff could perform. Id. Accordingly, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff was not under a disability, as
defined in the Social Security Act, since February 7, 2013,
the date the application was filed. Id. at 31.
STEPS TO EVALUATE ENTITLEMENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY
must proceed through the required sequential steps for
evaluating entitlement to social ...