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Howell v. Colvin

United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division

April 17, 2015

ANGELA Y. HOWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant.

ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW

DENISE K. LaRUE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Angela Y. Howell ("Howell") requests judicial review of the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying Howell's application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB"). For the reasons set forth below, the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Howell filed her application for DIB on September 6, 2011, alleging an onset of disability of April 29, 2011. [Dkt. 13-2 at 11] Howell's applications were denied initially on October 20, 2011, and upon reconsideration on February 2, 2012. [ Id. ] Howell requested a hearing, which was held on February 8, 2013, before Administrative Law Judge Brenton L. Rogozen ("ALJ"). The ALJ denied Howell's application on March 18, 2013. [Dkt. 13-2 at 8.] The Appeals Council denied Howell's request for review of the ALJ's decision on June 12, 2014, making the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review. Howell filed her Complaint with this Court on August 14. 2014. [Dkt. 1.]

B. Factual Background and Medical History

Howell was born on July 25, 1957 and was 53 years old on the date of alleged onset of disability. She last worked in 2010 as a housekeeper for St. Vincent Hospital and testified that she was terminated for poor performance. Howell received unemployment compensation until August 2012. She alleges multiple physical impairments including tendonitis/pain in her left foot, pain in her left hand and lower back pain. She also alleges depression. The ALJ determined that none of Howell's impairments were severe and thus she was not disabled. As the ALJ thoroughly summarized the medical records, the Court will only cite to the portions relevant to the issues on which Howell requests review.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard for Proving Disability

To be eligible for SSI and DIB, a claimant must show he is unable 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. ยง 423(d)(1)(A). To evaluate a disability claim, an ALJ must use the following five-step inquiry:

Step One: Is the claimant currently employed;
Step Two: Does the claimant have a severe impairment or combination of impairments;
Step Three: Does the claimant's impairment meet or equal any impairment listed in the regulations as being so severe as to ...

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