United States District Court, D. Arizona
A. Bowman United States Magistrate Judge
plaintiff filed this action for review of the final decision
of the Commissioner for Social Security pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
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. 14)
court finds that the ALJ's determination of Bjork's
disability onset date is supported by substantial evidence
and free from legal error.
October 13, 2011, Bjork filed for disability insurance
benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act and
supplemental security income pursuant to Title XVI. (Tr.
108-109) She alleged disability beginning on March 1, 2010,
due to "back injury" and "scoliosis."
(Tr. 14, 263) Her claims were denied initially (Tr. 110-114;
115-122) and upon reconsideration (Tr. 123-127, 128-132).
Bjork requested review and appeared with counsel at a hearing
before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Norman R. Buls on
October 2, 2013. (Tr. 14-22) In his decision, dated February
12, 2014, the ALJ found Bjork was disabled as of October 13,
2011, her application date. (Tr. 14-22) Because Bjork's
last insured date was March 31, 2011, her Title II
application was denied, but her Title XVI application was
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) Bjork
subsequently filed this action appealing that final decision.
(Doc. 1) She argues the case should be remanded because
"there is no ‘legitimate medical basis' in the
record for the ALJ's assigned [disability] onset
date." (Doc. 17, p. 4)
Work History and Medical History
November of 2009 and February of 2010, Bjork worked as a
cashier/stockroom worker at Citi Trends. (Tr. 281) On
December 26, 2009, she twisted her back placing a box of
sensor tags on a pulley. (Tr. 40, 47, 328)
was treated by Anthony E. Perrotti, D.O. for her work-related
back injury. (Tr. 328) Treatment began on January 2, 2010.
(Tr. 361, 328) Bjork's diagnosis was "sprain lumbar
region, sprain thoracic region." (Tr. 327) X-ray studies
on January 5, 2010 revealed "normal thoracic spine;
incidentally noted is mild dextroconvex scoliosis of the
thoracolumbar spine." (Tr. 337) (punctuation modified)
Treatment concluded on January 28, 2010 when Bjork was
released with no functional limitations. (Tr. 361, 328)
testified at the hearing that she was later fired from Citi
Trends because her employer refused to allow her to work
part-time. (Tr. 42-43)
last insured date for Title II purposes was March 31, 2011.
May of 2011 to August of 2011, Bjork worked at the Majestic
Gardens condominiums performing janitorial and maintenance
work for 20 hours per week. (Tr. 40, 253-254, 281, 282) She
picked up the mail and did some filing. (Tr. 54) She watered
the plants. Id. She picked up garbage and palm
fronds, cleaned the pool areas and restrooms, and mopped the
floors. (Tr. 282) During this period, Bjork received
workmens' compensation benefits and held herself out as
able to work. (Tr. 42) Bjork reported that she exacerbated
her back pain in August of 2011. (Tr. 488)
was examined on November 16, 2011 by Stanford A. Williamson,
D.O., for the disability determination services. (Tr.
488-490) Williamson diagnosed "chronic low back pain,
with signs of left sacroiliac joint involvement." (Tr.
490) X-ray studies of Bjork's spine were taken on
November 17, 2011. (Tr. 494) David Frank, M.D., found