United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Stephanie K. Bowman United States Magistrate
Stephanie Michelle Ollis filed this Social Security appeal in
order to challenge the Defendant's findings that she is
not disabled. See 42 U.S.C. §405(g). Proceeding
through counsel, Plaintiff presents three claims of error,
all of which the Defendant disputes. For the reasons
explained below, I conclude that the ALJ's finding of
non-disability should be AFFIRMED, because it is supported by
substantial evidence in the administrative record.
Summary of Administrative Record
Plaintiff's second application for and second denial of
Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Plaintiff previously
filed for SSI on August 19, 2011 (Tr. 11). After
Plaintiff's first claim was denied initially and upon
reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing de
novo before an ALJ. Id. ALJ Kenneth Wilson
found Plaintiff was not disabled, a finding that is
controlling in subsequent, unadjudicated periods unless there
is a new and material evidence or a showing of “changed
circumstances.” (Tr. 11, quoting Drummond v.
Commissioner of Social Security, 126 F.3d 837 (6th Cir.
February 2015, Plaintiff filed for Supplemental Security
Income alleging a disability onset date of November 30, 2009
(Tr. 11). After Plaintiff's claims were denied initially
and upon reconsideration, Plaintiff requested a hearing
de novo before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). On June 16, 2016, ALJ William Diggs held
a hearing at which Plaintiff appeared with a non-attorney
representative. The ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff and an
impartial vocational expert. Id. In August 2017, the
ALJ considered the record from Plaintiff's previous SSI
application and all subsequent evidence, and finally
determined that Plaintiff was not under a disability as
defined by the Social Security Act (Tr. 11-22). The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 1-5).
Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of this second denial of
was 43-years-old on the date her application was filed (Tr.
20). Plaintiff has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (Tr. 20). Plaintiff has stated
that she was living in an apartment with a friend, drives to
appointments, and attends to her self-care (Tr. 19).
Plaintiff has stated that she was responsible for raising her
young grandchildren in March 2016, and can perform a number
of daily activities including managing money, watching TV
every day, reading, and grocery shopping weekly. Id.
has past relevant work including work as an administrative
assistant (skilled work performed at the sedentary exertional
level); a tax preparer (semiskilled work performed at the
sedentary exertional level); and medical billing (semiskilled
work performed at the sedentary exertional level). (Tr. 20).
upon the record and testimony presented at the hearing, the
ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: “major joint dysfunction, affective
disorder, attention deficit disorder/attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder, osteoarthritis and allied disorders,
and obesity.” (Tr. 13). The ALJ concluded that none of
Plaintiff's impairments alone or in combination met or
medically equaled a listed impairment in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subp. P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 14). The ALJ determined that
Plaintiff retains the following residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work with the
She could lift ten pounds occasionally and less than ten
pounds frequently. She is able to push and pull up to ten
pounds. She is able to stand and/or walk four hours in an
eight-hour workday, and sit for six hours in an eight-hour
workday. She would require a sit/stand option with the
ability to alternate between sitting and standing three times
during the workday for three to five minutes per occasion.
She could frequently climb ramps and stairs, no more than two
stories on one occasion. She could occasionally stoop,
crouch, and crawl. She could frequently engage in fingering
with the left, dominant hand; and occasionally with the
right, non-dominant hand. She is limited to occasional
overhead reaching. She has no limitation with respect to
gross manipulation. She should avoid dangerous moving
machinery and unprotected heights due to episodes of
dizziness. She has no visual or communicative limitations.
She can understand, remember, and carry out simple, detailed,
and complex instructions. She can maintain attention and
concentration for two-hour periods in an eight-hour workday
with normal breaks. She is able to interact appropriately
with coworkers and supervisors. She should have no more than
occasional general public contact. She could adapt to changes
in the work setting.
(Tr. 16). Based upon the record as a whole including
testimony from the vocational expert, and given
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is unable to perform any past
relevant work. (Tr. 20). However, there are jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy that she can
perform, including such jobs as security monitor, call out
operator, and order clerk (Tr. 21). Accordingly, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff is not under disability, as defined
in the Social Security Regulations, and is not entitled to
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
Therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the
Defendant's final determination. On appeal to this Court,
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred by: 1) failing to find
the new evidence of record was material, which could warrant
a finding different than that made in the decision on the
prior claim; 2) failing to find Plaintiff's fibromyalgia
a severe impairment; and 3) weighing the opinion evidence of
record. Upon close analysis, I conclude that none of the
asserted errors require reversal or remand.