United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Au1d L. United States Magistrate Judge
Stacy Self, brought this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act (the “Act”) to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of Defendant, the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's
claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”).
(Docket Entry 1.) Defendant has filed the certified
administrative record (Docket Entry 9 (cited herein as
“Tr. ”)), and both parties have moved for
judgment (Docket Entries 14, 16; see also Docket
Entry 15 (Plaintiff's Memorandum); Docket Entry 17
(Defendant's Memorandum)). For the reasons that follow,
the Court should enter judgment for Defendant.
Plaintiff applied for DIB, alleging a disability onset date
of February 14, 2015. (Tr. 171-72.) Upon denial of that
application initially (Tr. 79-93, 106-09) and on
reconsideration (Tr. 94-105, 113-18), Plaintiff requested a
hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (Tr. 119-20). Plaintiff, her attorney,
and a vocational expert (“VE”) attended the
hearing. (Tr. 33-78.) The ALJ subsequently determined that
Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled under the Act. (Tr.
7-23.) The Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's
request for review (Tr. 1-6, 169-70, 258-61), thereby making
the ALJ's ruling the Commissioner's final decision
for purposes of judicial review.
rendering that decision, the ALJ made the following findings:
1. [Plaintiff] meets the insured status requirements of the .
. . Act through March 31, 2018.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since February 14, 2015, the alleged onset date.
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments:
functional dystonia, somatic disorder, depression, anxiety,
bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and
4. [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,
5. . . . [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to
perform medium work . . . except she can push/pull as much as
she can carry. [Plaintiff] is limited to simple, routine
tasks defined as jobs that can be learned in one month or
less by an on-the-job demonstration. She can work in a
low-stress setting defined as no quota work or
production-rate work. She can perform simple, work-related
decisions, defined as decisions involving only a few
variables. She can have no more than occasional interaction
with coworkers and the public. She can have few changes in a
routine work setting, defined as only a few deviations from
core job duties.
6. [Plaintiff] is capable of performing past relevant work as
housekeeping in a hospital. This work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by
[Plaintiff's] residual functional capacity.
In the alternative, considering [Plaintiff's] age,
education, work experience, and residual functional capacity,
there are jobs that exist in significant No. in the national
economy that [Plaintiff] also can perform.
7. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined in
the . . . Act, from February 14, 2015, through the date of
(Tr. 12-22 (internal parenthetical citations omitted).)
law “authorizes judicial review of the Social Security
Commissioner's denial of social security benefits.”
Hines v. Barnhart, 453 F.3d 559, 561 (4th Cir.
2006). However, “the scope of . . . review of [such a]
decision . . . is extremely limited.” Frady v.
Harris,646 F.2d 143, 144 (4th Cir. 1981). ...