United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
LISA F. CLARK, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
DENISE K. LaRUE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Lisa F. Clark ("Clark") requests judicial review of the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying Clark's application for supplemental security income ("SSI"). The Honorable Tanya W. Pratt, District Judge, designated this Magistrate Judge, under Fed.R.Civ.P. 72 and 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1), to issue a report and recommendation on the request. [Dkt. 15.] For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends the Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.
A. Procedural History
Clark filed an application SSI on August 25, 2011, alleging an onset of disability of January 1, 1985. [Dkt. 8-2 at 18.] Clark's application was denied initially on October 24, 2011, and upon reconsideration on December 12, 2011. [ Id. ] Clark requested a hearing, which was held on December 11, 2012 before Administrative Law Judge Albert J. Velasquez ("ALJ"). The ALJ denied Clark's application on January 9, 2013. [Dkt. 8-2 at 15.] The Appeals Council denied Clark's request for review of the ALJ's decision on March 27, 2014, making the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review. Clark filed his Complaint with this Court on May 22, 2014. [Dkt. 1.]
B. Factual Background and Medical History
Clark was born on August 20, 1964 and was 47 years old at the alleged onset of disability. She has a high school education and no past relevant work. The ALJ found Clark had the following severe impairments: left non-dominant rotator cuff injury, lower back pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and bipolar disorder. Clark only challenges the ALJ's findings with regard to her mental impairments. As the ALJ thoroughly summarized the medical records, the Court will only cite to the portions relevant to the issues on which Clark 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. § 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 ...