United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
DECISION AND ENTRY
L. Ovington United States Magistrate Judge.
Matilda Wiggins brings this case challenging the Social
Security Administration's denial of her applications for
period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits, and
Supplemental Security Income. She applied for benefits in
March 2014, asserting that she could no longer work. The
Social Security Administration denied her claims initially
and upon reconsideration. After a hearing, Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) Gregory G. Kenyon concluded that Plaintiff was
not eligible for benefits because she is not under a
“disability” as defined in the Social Security
case is presently before the Court upon Plaintiff's
Statement of Errors (Doc. #7), the Commissioner's
Memorandum in Opposition (Doc. #12), Plaintiff's Reply
(Doc. #13), the administrative record (Doc. #6), and the
record as a whole.
seeks a remand of this case for payment of benefits or, at a
minimum, for further proceedings. The Commissioner asks the
Court to affirm ALJ Kenyon's non-disability decision.
asserts that she has been under a “disability”
since February 10, 2014. She was thirty-nine years old at
that time and was therefore considered a “younger
person” under Social Security Regulations. See
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1563(c), 416.963(c). She has a
high school education. See Id. §§
testified at the hearing before ALJ Kenyon that she has
diabetes and her blood sugar is not well controlled. (Doc.
#6, PageID #90). She takes insulin but it does not
help. Id. When her sugar is high-which happens about
three times a week-her head feels like it is going to pop and
she gets migraines. Id.
has pain in her legs that feels like pins and needles are
sticking into them. Id. at 76. On a scale from one
to ten, she rated her pain at eight. Id. She also
experiences weakness in her legs. If she stands up too fast,
she gets dizzy and it feels like her legs will go out if she
does not sit down. Id. at 75. She falls
“pretty regular[ly]”- two to three times a week.
Id. at 77. She tried to take Neurontin but it did
not help. Id. at 75. She uses a cane when she goes
out and also has a seat for her tub. Id. at 78. She
did not have her cane at the hearing because she forgot it at
her cousin's. Id.
Plaintiff fell in the bathtub, she began having midback pain.
Id. at 73. She describes it as a sharp pain.
Id. at 74. On a scale from one to ten, her pain is
at nine. Id. It is aggravated when it rains a lot or
if she does too much bending. Id. She uses a heating
pad two to three times a week to help with pain. Id.
at 74-75. She also takes Aleve about four times a week.
Id. at 75. She tried aquatic therapy for a month;
“It helped a little bit but not really.”
Id. at 90-91. Her doctor recently referred her to
physical therapy again. Id. at 74.
Plaintiff has numbness and tingling in her hands.
Id. at 77. She has to hold a coffee cup in both
hands because her hand is always numb and shaking.
Id. She frequently drops things. Id. She
also has trouble manipulating small things. Id.
Further, she has a lot of numbness in her feet and blistering
around her toes. Id. at 76.
has a lifelong history of asthma. Id. at 85. She
uses an inhaler twice a day and a nebulizer twice a week.
Id. She smokes half a pack of cigarettes a day.
Id. at 86. She is trying to quit smoking but is
struggling. Id. If she starts coughing a lot and
cannot catch her breath, she goes to the emergency room.
Id. at 91. She has gone several times for
bronchitis. Id. She last went about two weeks before
the hearing because of her breathing and because she fell.
Id. They gave her an ankle bracelet, “a new
machine to do, ” and a new inhaler. Id.
has had issues with rectal bleeding for a couple years.
Id. at 83-84. She started bleeding two days before
the hearing and her doctor planned to see her shortly after
the hearing. Id. at 84. Her doctor does not know
what is causing the bleeding. She is looking for a new
is 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs 401 pounds. Id.
at 71. Her primary care doctor, Dr. Obeid, recommended she
have gastric bypass surgery and warned her that if she does
not, “something bad could happen to [her].”
Id. at 92.
has bipolar disorder. Id. at 78. She has mood swings
three times a week. Id. She has also struggled with
depression since her mom passed away in 2003. Id. at
79. She has crying spells around the time of year her mom
passed and during holidays. Id. She thought about
suicide once but could not do that to her child. Id.
at 80. She has a lot of problems because she is lonely.
Id. Plaintiff has difficulty concentrating on one
thing at a time. Id. at 79. For example, “I
could be watching TV, and it's like I just black out. I
don't know what went on for the next little bitty
minute.” Id. at 80. She could not concentrate
or keep up with a fast pace when she worked at a peanut
factory. Id. at 88.
addition, Plaintiff has anxiety disorder. Id. at 78.
She has panic attacks, especially around other people, and
trouble leaving the house. Id. at 81. She only
leaves three times a week-bible study on Wednesday, church on
Sunday, and socializing with a neighbor. Id. at
81-82. She sometimes has “a whole lot of anxiety”
about going to church but she makes herself go. Id.
at 82. If she goes to the store, she hurries to get in and
out. Id. She closes herself off to the world because
her problems stem from being friends with the wrong kind of
people and doing drugs. Id. at 81. She only sees one
woman who wants to exercise with her but it is “really
hard” for Plaintiff. Id.
has a history of substance abuse. Id. at 82-83. She
used cocaine and crack and drank alcohol. Id. at 83.
She last used three years before the hearing. Id.
She has some criminal history associated with her substance
abuse. Id. She once stole her cousin's TV and
game system and her aunt's credit card.
lives in an apartment by herself. Id. at 72. She is
able to take care of her personal needs. Id. at 87.
On an ordinary day, she sits at home, looks at her four
walls, and sometimes does word-search puzzles. Id.
at 88. She usually spends three or four hours a day lying
down, which is how she is most comfortable. Id. at
92. She cleans twice a week. Id. at 89. She can
sweep the floors but has a hard time wringing out a mop.
Id. She sometimes does laundry (although it is hard
to carry the bags) and has not been cooking recently.
Id. She does not have a driver's license because
she did not pay old fines. Id. at 72. Plaintiff
estimates that she can lift ten to fifteen pounds, stand for
ten minutes, walk about five minutes, and sit for about
thirty minutes. Id. at 85.
Remon Obeid, M.D.
primary-care physician, Dr. Obeid, opined in March 2015 that
she is “permanently unable to work secondary to her
condition of hemorrhaging of the gastrointestinal
tract.” Id. at 738. In August 2015, he
completed a Medical Impairment Questionnaire. He opined that
Plaintiff can sit for fifteen minutes at one time, work for
four hours per day, and lift five pounds on an occasional
basis. Id. at 965. She cannot not stand for any
period of time. Id. She can occasionally bend,
stoop, balance, manipulate with her hands, and raise her left
or right arm over shoulder level. Id. at 966. She
needs to occasionally elevate her legs at or above her waist
during an eight-hour workday. Id. Dr. Obeid
indicated that Plaintiff experiences moderate pain.
Id. She has significant problems with anxiety and/or
depression that markedly limit her ability to withstand the
stresses and pressure of ordinary work activity. Id.
He concluded that Plaintiff is unable to perform full-time,
competitive work over a sustained basis without missing work
more than two times a month or being off task more than
fifteen percent of the workday due to her impairments,
medical appointments, and/or treatment. Id.
March 2016, Dr. Obeid completed a second Medical Impairment
Questionnaire. He indicated that Plaintiff's pertinent
medical history includes asthma, back pain, overweight,
diabetes mellitus, hypertension, malaise, fatigue, and
osteoarthritis of her knee. Id. at 1799. His
opinions generally remained the same as his August 2015
opinions. However, he indicated that Plaintiff could stand
for fifteen minutes and work for two hours per day.
Id. Her level of pain is moderate to severe.
Id. at 1800.
Jewell Giedroyce, LPCC-S, LSW
March 2016, Plaintiff's counselor, Ms. Giedroyce,
completed a mental impairment questionnaire. Id. at
1788-91. She opined that Plaintiff's bipolar disorder and
anxiety “interfere with her functioning with people and
a work environment.” Id. at 1789. Her signs
and symptoms include, for example, poor memory, sleep
disturbance, difficulty thinking/concentrating, social
withdrawal or isolation, decreased energy, and persistent
irrational fears. Id. at 1788. Plaintiff is working
to stabilize her symptoms through counseling and medication
from a psychiatrist, and her prognosis is limited to fair.
Id. at 1789. Ms. Giedroyce indicated that Plaintiff
has extreme deficiencies of concentration, persistence, or
pace resulting in failure to complete tasks in a timely
manner. Id. at 1790. Further, her ability to
understand and remember directions and perform activities
within a schedule, maintain regular attendance, and be
punctual within customary tolerances is extremely limited.
Id. Ms. Giedroyce concluded that Plaintiff would
miss work an average of three times per month because of her
mental impairments or treatment. Id.
Vicki Warren, Ph.D., & Bonnie Katz, Ph.D.
Warren reviewed Plaintiff's records in May 2014.
Id. at 109-20. She found Plaintiff had four severe
impairments-affective disorders, anxiety disorders, diabetes
mellitus, and “osteoarthrosis and allied
disorders.” Id. at 113. She opined Plaintiff
has a mild restriction of activities of daily living, mild
difficulties in maintaining social functioning, moderate
difficulties in maintaining concentration, persistence, or
pace, and no repeated episodes of decompensation.
Id. at 113-14. Further, she “can perform tasks
in a relatively static setting that does not have strict
production standards.” Id. at 117.
November 2014, Dr. Katz reviewed Plaintiff's records and
affirmed Dr. Warren's assessment. Id. at 135-47.
Diane Manos, M.D., & William Bolz, M.D.
Manos reviewed Plaintiff's records in August 2014.
Id. at 109-20. She opined that Plaintiff could lift
and/or carry twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds
frequently. Id. at 115. She can stand and/or walk
for six hours and sit for six hours. Id. She can
frequently climb ramps/stairs, balance, kneel, crouch, or
crawl. Id. at 116. She can occasionally climb