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Jimmy Dobson v. Michael J. Astrue

August 23, 2011

JIMMY DOBSON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Maria Valdez United States Magistrate Judge

Magistrate Judge Maria Valdez

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is an action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to review the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying plaintiff Jimmy Dobson's claim for Supplemental Security Income Benefits. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). For the reasons that follow, Dobson's motion for summary judgment [Doc. No. 21] is denied.

BACKGROUND

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Dobson originally applied for Supplemental Security Income Benefits ("SSIB") on January 16, 2007, alleging disability since January 2, 2000. (R. 60.) The application was denied on April 26, 2007 and upon reconsideration on August 2, 2007. (Id.) Dobson filed a timely request for a hearing by an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), which was held on December 1, 2008. (Id.) Dobson personally appeared and testified at the hearing and was represented by counsel. (Id.) A vocational expert also testified at the hearing. (Id.) During the hearing, Dobson amended the alleged disability onset date from January 2, 2000 to August 15, 2005. (Id.)

On March 19, 2009, the ALJ denied Dobson's claim for benefits and found him not disabled under the Social Security Act. (R. 67.) The Social Security Administration Appeals Council denied Dobson's request for review on July 9, 2009, (R. 1), leaving the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner and therefore reviewable by the District Court under 42 U.S.C. 405 (g). See Haynes v. Barnhart, 416 F.3d 621, 626 (7th Cir. 2005).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

A. Background

Dobson was born on June 7, 1951 (R.22.) At the time of the hearing, he was 57 years old. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall and weighs 171 pounds. (R.22.) He is a high school graduate and completed one year of college. (R. 22.) Dobson claims disability due to high blood sugar, arthritis and limited mobility of his arms with an onset date of August 15, 2005. (R. 60, 62.)

B. Testimony and Medical Evidence

1. Dobson's Testimony

Dobson testified that he last worked as a janitor for approximately eight months, forty hours a week, ending on August 15, 2005. (R. 23.) He stated that he has been unable to work since he started having difficulties with his back, knees, and shoulder and since he was diagnosed with diabetes. (R. 24.) He indicated that he has difficulty walking, and can probably walk only about one to two blocks. (R. 26, 29.) Further, he asserted that he can sit about 45 minutes to an hour and then has to stand. (R. 29.) He stated that he can only lift 25-30 pounds, and that he has pain in his right shoulder, right ankle and knees. (R. 30-31.) Further, he reported that he cannot reach over his head and that he cannot climb stairs without difficulty. (R. 31, 37-38.) He indicated that he takes 500 milligrams of Naproxen for pain. (R. 31.) For diabetes, Dobson takes 10 milligrams of Glipizide and insulin injections twice a day. (R. 31-32.)

Dobson testified that he has used street drugs in the past, but has not used since 2000. (R. 36.) He also admitted that he has a history of alcohol abuse. (R. 35.) When questioned, he stated that he was hospitalized and went through an alcohol ...


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