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Barbara Lynn Thomas v. Michael J. Astrue

February 2, 2012

BARBARA LYNN THOMAS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Byron G. Cudmore, U.S. Magistrate Judge:

E-FILED Thursday, 02 February, 2012 04:59:57 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

Plaintiff Barbara Thomas appeals from the denial of her application for Social Security Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income (collectively "Disability Benefits") under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423, 1381a, and 1382c. This appeal is brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c). Thomas has filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (d/e 20), and Defendant Commissioner of Social Security has filed a Motion for Summary Affirmance (d/e 22). The parties consented, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), to have this matter proceed before this Court. Consent to Proceed Before a United States Magistrate Judge, and Order of Reference entered October 3, 2011 (d/e 17). For the reasons set forth below, the Decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

Thomas was born on December 15, 1945. She completed high school in 1963. She also received training as a certified care giver in 2006. Answer to Complaint (d/e 15),attached Certified Transcript of Record of Proceedings Before the Social Security Administration (R.), at 35. She last worked as a care giver in a residence home beginning in 2005 until January 1, 2007. R. 36, 39. She previously worked for two years as a cashier at Walmart. R. 47-48.

Thomas has an extensive medical history of suffering from depression and post traumatic stress disorder. In November 1992, Thomas was diagnosed with major depression recurrent in partial remission with multiple psycho social stressors. R. 329.*fn1 The records from the Christian County, Illinois, Mental Health Associates show that she was treated by a psychiatrist, Dr. Obul Reddy, M.D., from 1992 to 2003.

R. 282-329. Thomas moved to Florida in 2003, but returned to Illinois in November 2004.

Upon her return to Illinois, Thomas started seeing Mr. Peter Corso, a licensed counselor, on November 16, 2004. R. 404. Corso noted that Thomas' depression was relatively controlled, but she became more depressed in the winter. He assessed her with a Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) score of 65. R. 404. The GAF scale reflects a clinician's assessment of an individual's symptom severity or level of social, occupational, or school functioning. American Psychiatric Association, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 32-33 (4th ed., Text Rev. 2000). A GAF score of 61 to 70 means mild symptoms or some difficulty in functioning, but generally functioning pretty well. A GAF score of 51 to 60 means some moderate symptoms or moderate difficulty in functioning. A GAF score of 41 to 50 means serious symptoms or serious difficulty in functioning. Id. at 34.

On December 20, 2004, Corso noted that Thomas was non-symptomatic and she stated that she felt stable. He assessed a GAF score of 69. R. 403. She saw Corso on a monthly basis throughout 2004 and 2005. He assessed her GAF score as ranging from 60 top 70. R. 402-400, 395-97, 390-93, 388.

Thomas saw Dr. Reddy on February 23, 2005, Dr. Reddy noted that her thinking was logical, coherent, and goal directed. He found that her concentration was fair, her retention and recall were not impaired, she had no other memory deficits, her judgment and insight were fair, and she had no other sensorium deficits. R. 279-80. Dr. Reddy listed her diagnosis as major depression and mixed personality traits. R. 280. He assessed her with a GAF score of 51. Dr. Reddy prescribed Prozac and Imipramine.

R. 279.

Thomas saw Dr. Reddy again on June 1, 2005. Dr. Reddy noted that Thomas was reasonably stable on her current medications. He continued the medications and assessed her with a GAF score of 58. R. 278. On November 2, 2005, Dr. Reddy noted that Thomas was doing poorly. He increased her Prozac dosage from 20 mg to 40 mg. He assessed her with a GAF score of 45. R. 277.

Thomas saw Dr. Reddy again on March 8, 2006. Thomas reported that she switched from generic to name brand medication and felt much better. Dr. Reddy noted that she was significantly improved and assessed her GAF score as 51. R. 275. Corso saw Thomas on March 13, 2006. He assessed her GAF score as 70 and noted that she was stable. R. 378. On April 10, 2006, Corso noted that her condition is gradually improving. He assessed her with a GAF score of 65. R. 377. In May and June 2006, Corso assessed Thomas with a GAF score of 62 and 63 respectively.

R. 375-76.

On June 14, 2006, Dr. Reddy noted that Thomas was quite stable and coming along well. He assessed her GAF score at 59. R. 274. On September 20, 2006, Dr. Reddy noted that Thomas' moods were reasonably stable and noted no new difficulties. He assessed her GAF score at 51. R. 273. After the September 2006, Corso changed his format of progress notes and stopped assessing a GAF score. R. 333-73.

On November 29, 2006, Thomas reported to Dr. Reddy that she was not doing well with low energy, no interest, and lots of ups and downs. She reported getting into trouble at work because of her emotional stress.

R. 272. Dr. Reddy recommended sitting in front of a light for a half hour in the morning and in the evening. Dr. Reddy assessed her GAF score as 45.

R. 272. On December 19, 2006, Corso noted that Thomas' mood was down and she had some seasonally related depression. R. 362.

Thomas lost her job on January 1, 2007. Corso noted that Thomas was more depressed at her meetings with him on January 17, 2007 and February 26, 2007. R. 360-61. Thomas saw Dr. Reddy on February 28, 2007. She reported losing her job, being more depressed, being irritable and forgetful, and having problems with her memory. She reported not remembering what she did for chunks of ...


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