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Long v. Colvin

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

May 29, 2015

DONNA LONG, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

DENISE K. LaRUE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Donna Long ("Long") requests judicial review of the decision of Defendant Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner"), denying Long's application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income ("SSI"). The Honorable William T. Lawrence, 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. 23.] For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends the Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Long filed applications for DIB and SSI in January 2009, alleging an onset of disability of January 7, 2009. [Dkt. 12-2 at 20.] Long's applications were denied initially on, and upon reconsideration. Long requested a hearing, which was held on July 29, application on August 15, 2011. Id. On December 26, 2011, the Appeals Council vacated the ALJ's decision and remanded the case to ALJ John Metz. A separate hearing was held on September 9, 2013. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on September 26, 2013. [Dkt. 12-2 at 17.] The Appeals Council denied Long's request for review of the ALJ's decision on January 31, 2014, making the ALJ's decision final for purposes of judicial review. Long filed her Complaint with this Court on April 4, 2014. [Dkt. 1.]

B. Factual Background and Medical History

Long was born on March 31, 1967 and was 41 years old at the alleged onset of disability. She has a ninth grade education and no GED. The ALJ found Long had the following severe impairments: multiple sclerosis, migraine headaches, low back pain, left carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, obesity and depression. As the ALJ thoroughly summarized the medical records, the Court will only cite to the portions relevant to the issues on which Long requests review.

II. LEGAL STANDARDS

A. Standard for Proving Disability

To be eligible for SSI and DIB, a claimant must show she 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 ...

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