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Tonika C. Webster v. Michael Astrue Commissioner of Social Security

August 11, 2011

TONIKA C. WEBSTER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL ASTRUE COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John G. Koeltl, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

The plaintiff, Tonika Webster, brings this pro se action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§405(g) and 1383(c)(3), seeking reversal of a final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") that the plaintiff was not entitled to disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). In response, the Commissioner moves for judgment on the pleadings pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) to affirm the Commissioner's decision that the plaintiff is not entitled to DIB and SSI under the Social Security Act ("the Act").

The sole issue on this motion is whether substantial evidence supports the Commissioner's finding that the plaintiff is not entitled to DIB and SSI under the Act because she is not disabled.

The plaintiff filed applications for DIB and SSI benefits on December 5, 2007. (R. at 7.) The applications were denied. Id. The plaintiff filed a timely hearing request and received a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), Joseph K. Rowe, on June 8, 2009. Id. The ALJ considered the case de novo and issued a decision on June 29, 2009, denying the plaintiff's claim. (R. at 7-12.) The decision became the Commissioner's final decision on February 24, 2010, when the Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision.

(R. at 1-3.) This appeal followed.

I.

The administrative record contains the following facts. The plaintiff was born on September 30, 1968. (R. at 16.) She completed school through the twelfth grade and earned her General Equivalency Degree. (R. at 16-17, 52.) The plaintiff also took computer classes at two business schools. (R. at 17.) The plaintiff testified that she worked primarily as a home healthcare worker until 2006, but had begun working in the same position again in December of 2008. (R. at 19-22.) In the previous fifteen years, the plaintiff worked as a Group Leader Assistant for a drug treatment program, and at her present position in home healthcare. (R. at 64.) The plaintiff also reported that she worked as a receptionist for a community development business from June 1998 to September 2007. (R. at 49.)

The plaintiff explained that her job as a home healthcare worker includes bathing the patients, and picking them up, cleaning, handling their mail, laundry and cooking for them.

(R. at 22, 49, 66.) The patient alleges that this job included about four hours of walking, and three to six hours of standing.

(R. at 49, 66.) In an undated disability report, the plaintiff claimed that she frequently lifted fifty pounds or more, however, in her work history report, dated March 13, 2008, she reported that the heaviest weight she lifted at this job was twenty pounds. Id.

The plaintiff asserts that she became disabled in 2006 around the time she had her youngest son. (R. at 21.) The plaintiff reports that she is able to carry about ten to twenty pounds, and indicates in a Function Report that she is able to prepare meals on the stove, go grocery shopping, iron, clean, and do the laundry, sometimes with the help of her children. (R. at 26, 58.) She claims that she can sit for about two to three hours and that she cannot stand for more than an hour without a problem. (R. at 24.)

II.

The plaintiff's relevant medical history includes several medical opinions. These opinions will be noted in chronological order.

Dr. John A. Debello treated the plaintiff during the period of June 2006 through December 2007. (R. at 110-118.) On June 21, 2006, the plaintiff saw Dr. Debello complaining of pains in her toe. (R. at 118.) Dr. Debello reported that the plaintiff appeared "well developed, well nourished and with good attention to hygiene and body [habits]." Id. He observed that the plaintiff's right fifth toe showed evidence of a "rigid hammertoe ...


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