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Boyd v. Colvin

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

June 30, 2015

Cynthia L. Boyd, Plaintiff
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant

ENTRY REVIEWING THE COMMISSIONER’S DECISION

Hon. Jane Magnus-Stinson, Judge United States District Court

Plaintiff Cynthia Boyd applied for disability and disability insurance benefits from the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) in August 2011, alleging a disability onset date of September 1, 2009. [Filing No. 12-5 at 2.] Her application was denied initially on January 4, 2012 and after reconsideration on March 6, 2012. [Filing No. 12-2 at 13.] Administrative Law Judge Ronald T. Jordan (the “ALJ”) held a hearing on February 7, 2013, and issued a decision on March 13, 2013, concluding that Ms. Boyd was not entitled to receive benefits. [Filing No 12-2 at 21-28.] The Appeals Council denied review on June 26, 2014. [Filing No. 12-2 at 2-4.] Ms. Boyd then filed this action, asking the Court to review the denial of benefits pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). [Filing No. 1.]

I.

Background

Ms. Boyd was forty-four years old when she applied for disability benefits in August 2011. [Filing No. 12-5 at 2.][1] Ms. Boyd previously worked as a bank teller and a ledger/bookkeeper. [Filing No. 12-2 at 45.] She alleges a disability onset date of September 1, 2009. [Filing No. 12-5 at 2.] Ms. Boyd claims that she is disabled based on a variety of conditions, which will be discussed as necessary below. Ms. Boyd met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014. [Filing No. 12-2 at 13.]

Using the five-step sequential evaluation set forth by the SSA in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4), the ALJ issued an opinion on March 13, 2013, determining that Ms. Boyd was not entitled to receive disability benefits. [Filing No. 12-2 at 13-21.] The ALJ found as follows:

· At Step One of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Boyd had not engaged in substantial gainful activity[2] since the alleged onset date. [Filing No. 12-2 at 15.]
· At Step Two of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Boyd suffered from the severe impairments of migraines and high blood pressure. [Filing No. 12-2 at 15-16.]
· At Step Three of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Boyd did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medical equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments. [Filing No. 12-2 at 16.]
· After Step Three but before Step Four, the ALJ found that Ms. Boyd had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to: “lift, carry, push, or pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. She can stand or walk for a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour day and sit for a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour day. She can occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, crawl, kneel, and climb stairs or ramps. She cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. Additionally, the claimant cannot work around hazards, loud background noises, or flashing lights. She also cannot endure concentrated exposure to dust, fumes, gases, strong odors, or poor ventilation.” [Filing No. 12-2 at 16-21.]
· At Step Four of the analysis, the ALJ found that Ms. Boyd was capable of performing her past relevant work as a bank teller and ledger/bookkeeper. [Filing No. 12-2 at 21.]
· The ALJ did not reach Step Five of the analysis due to his finding at Step Four that Ms. Boyd could perform her past relevant work. [Filing No. 12-2 at 21.]

Ms. Boyd sought review of the ALJ’s decision from the Appeals Council, but that request was denied on June 26, 2014, [Filing No. 12-2 at 2-4], making the ALJ’s decision the Commissioner’s final decision subject to judicial review. Ms. Boyd then filed this action, asking that the Commissioner’s decision be reversed and requesting an award of ...


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