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Hanken v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. Colorado

September 18, 2014

PAMELA HANKEN, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 1344

For Pamela Hanken, Plaintiff: Joseph Anthony Whitcomb, LEAD ATTORNEY, Rocky Mountain Disability Law Group, Denver, CO.

For Michael J. Astrue, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant: Allan D. Berger, Kirsten Anna Westerland, LEAD ATTORNEY, Sandra Thourot Krider, Social Security Administration-Denver, Denver, CO; J. Benedict Garcia, U.S. Attorney's Office-Denver, Denver, CO.

Page 1345

ORDER AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER

Robert E. Blackburn, United States District Judge.

The matter before me is plaintiff's Complaint [#1],[2] filed February 8, 2013, seeking review of the Commissioner's decision denying plaintiff's claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq. I have jurisdiction to review the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The matter has been fully briefed, obviating the need for oral argument. I affirm.

I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Plaintiff alleges that she is disabled as a result of various mental health impairments, as well as by back strain, sciatica, and numbness of her left foot and leg. Plaintiff previously filed applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits in 2007. Following a hearing, the administrative law judge (ALJ) denied those applications, finding that plaintiff's alleged mental and physical impairments were not severe at that time. The Appeals Council denied review, and plaintiff did not appeal that decision to this court.

Plaintiff filed new applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits in July 2010. When hose applications were denied, plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law judge. This hearing was held on May 4, 2012. At the time of this most recent hearing, plaintiff was 49 years old. She has high school education and past relevant work experience as a shoe salesperson and an order selector. She has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 16, 2009, the first day following the ALJ's prior unfavorable decision. For purposes of disability insurance benefits, plaintiff's date last insured was September 30, 2009.

The ALJ found that plaintiff was not disabled and therefore not entitled to disability insurance benefits or supplemental security income benefits. For purposes of plaintiff's application for disability insurance

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benefits, the ALJ found that her alleged impairments were not severe between May 16, 2009, and her date last insured. With respect to the application for supplemental security income benefits, the ALJ found that as of the date of the application in July 2010, the medical evidence established that plaintiff suffered from severe impairments, but that the severity of those impairments did not meet or equal any impairment listed in the social security regulations. The ALJ found that plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to perform a limited range of simple, unskilled, light work with certain postural limitations which required no more than occasional but only incidental contact with the general public. This residual functional capacity was consistent with plaintiff's past relevant work as an order selector. The ALJ ...


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