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Orozco v. Astrue

August 17, 2007

SALVADOR O. OROZCO, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,*FN1 COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Clifford J. Proud United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM and ORDER

In accordance with 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), plaintiff Salvador O. Orozco seeks judicial review of the March 1, 2006, final agency decision finding that he is not disabled and denying him Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB), pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 423.

Upon consent of the parties, this matter has been assigned to undersigned for final disposition, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §636(c). See, Docs. 15 - 18.

Procedural History

Salvador O. Orozco filed the present application for DIB on February 2, 2003. (Tr. 56). He claimed a disability date of September 10, 2000, due to severe pain in his back from his neck to his hips. (Tr. 76). The Social Security Administration Field Office recommended that his onset date be changed to December 1, 2000, because he continued to work through that date. (Tr. 85).

The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Kathleen Gavin on July 14, 2005. (Tr. 228-252). At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was incarcerated in the Illinois Department of Corrections, where he remains today. ALJ Gavin denied the application for benefits in a decision dated July 26, 2005. (Tr. 13-20). Plaintiff's request for review was denied by the Appeals Council and the decision of the ALJ became the final agency decision. (Tr. 5-7). Plaintiff has exhausted his administrative remedies and has filed a timely complaint in this court.

Issues Raised by Plaintiff

Plaintiff is pro se in this court. Despite being ordered to file a brief, see Docs. 14 & 19, he has not done so. His compliant does not raise any specific allegation of error, except to reiterate that he is in pain and has medical problems.

In the absence of any specific allegation of error, the court will undertake a general review of the ALJ's decision.

The Evidentiary Record

The court has reviewed and carefully considered the entire record in formulating this Memorandum and Order. The following is a summary of some of the pertinent portions of the written record.

1. Work History Report

Plaintiff reported that he has worked in the past as a laborer in a meter repair shop, an operator/helper in the fabrication of semi trailers, a machine operator, and a forklift driver. (Tr. 104). On January 16, 2003, he reported that he began working for Performance Temps, Inc., as a laborer beginning on November 15, 2002. (Tr. 90).

2. Plaintiff's Testimony

Plaintiff was not represented by an attorney at the hearing. He was in prison for use and distribution of cocaine. (Tr. 234). He was arrested in 2003. (Tr. 235-236). His release date is 2011. (Tr. 233). He left school in the fourth grade, but was working on getting his GED (Tr. 234-235). He does not work in prison. (Tr. 235).

Plaintiff testified that he cannot work because of problems with his back. He had surgery for a pinched nerve in the past. (Tr. 236). He hurt his back on the job in 1985. (Tr. 239-240). He has numbness in his left leg when he wakes up, and has pain in the middle of his back, which feels like he "can't stand up straight." (Tr. 237). He takes no medications at all for his back. (Tr. 238). He testified that he is able to sit for an hour or an hour and a half, and can walk for 2 or 3 hours. (Tr. 239).

He also has asthma, but was taking no medication for that at the time of the hearing. Sometimes he feels like he runs ...


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