United States District Court, District of Columbia
DEBORAH A. ROBINSON United States Magistrate Judge.
Tai Cooper, seeks judicial review of a decision of the Acting
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(“SSA”) denying her application for social
security disability benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). Complaint ¶ 3 (ECF No. 1). This action initially
was referred to the undersigned United States Magistrate
Judge for full case management. 08/19/2016 Referral. Upon the
consent of the parties, this action subsequently was assigned
to the undersigned for all purposes. Notice, Consent, and
Reference of a Civil Action to a Magistrate Judge (ECF No.
pending for determination are Plaintiff's Motion for
Judgment of Reversal (ECF No. 9) and Defendant's Motion
for Judgment of Affirmance (ECF No. 10). Upon consideration
of the motions, the memoranda in support thereof and in
opposition thereto, and the entire record herein, the court
will grant Plaintiff's motion and deny Defendant's
16, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Title II application for
disability insurance benefits. See Administrative
Record (“AR”) (ECF No. 6) at 66. Plaintiff
alleged a disability onset date of January 25, 2012.
Id. at 66-67. Plaintiff reported that she suffers
from “multiple sclerosis, neck, back and shoulder
injuries.” Id. at 66. Plaintiff's
applications were initially denied by the SSA on September
24, 2012, and were subsequently denied upon reconsideration
on April 19, 2013. Id. at 66-74, 75-84.
filed a written request for a hearing, see Id. at
102, and appeared before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) on April 24, 2015, see Id. at
38. The ALJ denied Plaintiff's application on June 17,
2015. See Id. at 21-32. The ALJ found that Plaintiff
had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January
25, 2012. Id. at 26. Additionally, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff has the following severe impairments:
“cervical spine strain, myofascial pain; lumbar spine
strain, myofascial pain; left shoulder strain, anterior
labral tear with associated para-labral cyst,
acromioclavicular joint separation; carpal tunnel syndrome;
and obesity[.]” Id. The ALJ held that
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[.]” Id. at 27. Lastly, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except
occasionally lift and/or carry 20 pounds, frequently lift
and/or carry 10 pounds, stand and/or walk about 6 hours in an
8-hour workday, sit for a total of about 6 hours in an 8-hour
workday, occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop,
kneel, crouch and crawl, and never climb ladders, ropes and
scaffolds. She requires the ability to [ ] alternate between
sitting and standing at will.
then found that “there are jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
can perform” such that she “has not been under a
disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from
January 25, 2012, through the date of this decision[.]”
Id. at 31, 32.
sought review by the Appeals Council of the ALJ's
decision. The Appeals Council denied the request for review,
thereby rendering the ALJ's decision “the final
decision of the Commissioner.” Id. at 1.
Plaintiff then commenced the instant action.
Social Security Act of 1935 (the “Act”)
established a framework to provide “disability
insurance benefits” to eligible individuals and
“supplemental security income” to individuals who
have “attained age 65[, ] . . . are blind[, ] or
disabled.” 42 U.S.C. §§ 423, 1381, 1381a. The
Act defines “disability” for non-blind
individuals as “inability to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result
in death or which 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); 20 C.F.R. § 416.905. A
“disabled” individual is eligible for
supplemental security income if he or she meets additional
statutory requirements concerning income and resources. 42
U.S.C. § 1382(a). The SSA has promulgated regulations,
pursuant to the Act, outlining a five-step process for
determining disability of adults. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920.
the SSA evaluates whether the claimant is “doing
substantial gainful activity.” If so, the agency
concludes that the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), (b); 416.920(a)(4)(i), (b).
if the claimant is not engaging in substantial gainful
activity, the SSA determines whether the claimant has a
“severe medically determinable physical or medical
impairment that meets the duration requirement . . . or a
combination of impairments that is severe and meets the