United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
LORA B. MARRERO, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Litkovitz United States Magistrate Judge
Lora B. Marrero, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying
her application for disability insurance benefits
("DIB"). This matter is before the Court on
plaintiffs statement of errors (Doc. 11), the
Commissioner's response in opposition (Doc. 17), and
plaintiff s reply memorandum. (Doc. 18).
protectively filed her application for DIB on November 20,
2014, alleging disability since November 17, 2014, due to
anxiety, manic depression, and schizoaffective disorder. The
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Plaintiff, through counsel, requested and was granted a
de novo hearing before administrative law judge
("ALJ") Pamela E. Loesel. Plaintiff and a
vocational expert ("VE") appeared and testified at
the ALJ hearing on March 15, 2017. On April 25, 2017, ALJ
Loesel issued a decision denying plaintiffs DIB application.
Plaintiffs request for review by the Appeals Council was
denied, making the decision of ALJ Loesel the final
administrative decision of the Commissioner.
Legal Framework for Disability Determinations
qualify for disability benefits, a claimant must suffer from
a medically determinable physical or mental impairment that
can be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). The impairment must
render the claimant unable to engage in the work previously
performed or in any other substantial gainful employment that
exists in the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2).
promulgated by the Commissioner establish a five-step
sequential evaluation process for disability determinations:
1) If the claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, the
claimant is not disabled.
2) If the claimant does not have a severe medically
determinable physical or mental impairment i.e., an
impairment that significantly limits his or her physical or
mental ability to do basic work activities the claimant is
3) If the claimant has a severe impairments) that meets or
equals one of the listings in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of the
regulations and meets the duration requirement, the claimant
4) If the claimant's impairment does not prevent him or
her from doing his or her past relevant work, the claimant is
5) If the claimant can make an adjustment to other work, the
claimant is not disabled. If the claimant cannot make an
adjustment to other work, the claimant is disabled.
Robbers v. Comm 'r of Soc. Sec, 582 F.3d 647,
652 (6th Cir. 2009) (citing 20 C.F.R. §§
404.152O(a)(4)(i)-(v), 404.1520(b)-(g)). The claimant has the
burden of proof at the first four steps of the sequential
evaluation process. Id.; Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec, 378 F.3d 541, 548 (6th Cir. 2004). Once the
claimant establishes a prima facie case by showing an
inability to perform the relevant previous employment, the
burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that the claimant
can perform other substantial gainful employment and that
such employment exists in the national economy.
Rubbers, 582 F.3d at 652; Harmon v. Apfel,
168 F.3d 289, 291 (6th Cir. 1999).
The Administrative Law Judge's Findings
applied the sequential evaluation process and made the
following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. The [plaintiff] meets the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The [plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since November 17, 2014, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571, et seq.), 3. The [plaintiff] has the
following severe impairments: schizoaffective disorder,
posttraumatic stress disorder, and depressive disorder, NOS
(20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. The [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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
[ALJ] finds that the [plaintiff] had the residual functional
capacity [("RFC")] to perform a full range of work
at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional
limitations: She can perform simple routine tasks (unskilled
work) with infrequent change and no fast pace or high
production quotas. She can have superficial interaction
(meaning of a short duration for a specific purpose) with
co-workers and supervisors. There should be no direct work
with the public (i.e. customer service type work). She can
perform low stress work meaning no arbitration, negotiation,
responsibility for the safety of others or supervisory
6. The [plaintiff] is unable to perform any past relevant
work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The [plaintiff] was born [in]... 1980 and was 34 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The [plaintiff] has at least a high school education and
is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the [plaintiff] is "not disabled," whether or
not the [plaintiff] has transferable job skills (See SSR
82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the [plaintiff] 's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there were jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that the [plaintiff] ...