United States District Court, D. Arizona
Renada S. Perea, Plaintiff,
Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
LESLIE A. BOWMAN, District Judge.
The plaintiff filed this action for review of the final decision of the Commissioner for Social Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3).
The Magistrate Judge presides over this case pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) having received the written consent of both parties. See FED.R.CIV.P. 73; (Doc. 16)
The court finds the final decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence and is free from legal error.
Perea filed for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income in April of 2011. (Tr. 61) She alleged disability beginning on April 15, 2003, due to degenerative disc disease, high blood pressure, and depression. (Tr. 61) Her claim was denied initially (Tr. 95-102) and upon reconsideration (Tr. 105-111). Perea requested review and appeared with counsel at a hearing before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Norman R. Buls on January 2, 2013. (Tr. 40) In his decision, dated January 16, 2013, the ALJ found Perea is not disabled because she can return to her past relevant work as a telephone customer service representative. (Tr. 21-33)
Perea appealed and submitted additional exhibits, but the Appeals Council denied review making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-5) Perea subsequently filed this action pro se appealing that final decision. (Doc. 1) She argues she is unable to work due to pain caused by her degenerative disc disease. (Doc. 24)
Claimant's Work History and Medical History
Perea was 50 years old at the time of the hearing in January of 2013. (Tr. 40-41) She graduated from high school and has a community college associate degree. (Tr. 42, 394)
Perea worked as a customer service representative with Aeges from 1999 to 2002 when she was terminated for "no call and no show." (Tr. 43, 395) She worked as a cashier for Checkers Auto from 2002 to 2003 when she was terminated for allowing her brother to use her employee discount. (Tr. 43, 395)
Perea's main complaint is pain from degenerative disc disease. In November of 2009, X-ray studies of her lumbar spine revealed "moderate to moderately severe degenerative changes." (Tr. 303) Her L3-4 through L5-S1 disc spaces were "moderately to moderately severely narrowed." (Tr. 303)
In October of 2011, Jeri B. Hassman, M.D., examined Perea for the state disability determination services. (Tr. 402) Hassman gave the following diagnoses:
1. Chronic low back pain. Thoracic and lumbar spine films apparently show multilevel degenerative changes. No evidence for lumbar radiculopathy and a negative straight leg raising test bilaterally. The claimant's main complaint is that she cannot sit or stand for long periods of time.'
2. Tenderness over the right sacroiliac joint.