United States District Court, D. Maryland
WILLIAM CONNELLY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Tammy Thompson (“Ms. Thompson” or
“Plaintiff”) brought this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”
or “Defendant”) denying her claim for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title
XVI of the Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f. The
parties consented to a referral to a United States Magistrate
Judge for all proceedings and final disposition. See
ECF Nos. 2, 5.Pending and ready for resolution are
Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 13)
and Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
14). No hearing is deemed necessary. See Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2014). For the reasons set forth below,
Defendant’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be granted
and Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment will be
31, 2012 Ms. Thompson filed an application for
alleging a disability onset date of December 15, 2010 due to
mood disorder, depression, and attention deficit disorder. R.
at 11, 122-25, 150-51. Ms. Thompson’s application was
initially denied on August 28, 2012. R. at 89-92. On October
11, 2012 Ms. Thompson requested reconsideration. R. at 95. On
December 10, 2012 the application was denied again. R. at
96-97. On January 10, 2013 Ms. Thompson requested a hearing
by an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). R. at 98.
On January 14, 2014 an ALJ convened a hearing via video
teleconference. R. at 42-62. Ms. Thompson was represented by
counsel. Based on the advice of her counsel, Ms. Thompson
voluntarily amended her alleged onset date of disability to
May 31, 2012, the date of her application. R. at 44-45.
During the hearing the ALJ obtained testimony from Ms.
Thompson and a vocational expert (“VE”). In the
February 21, 2014 decision the ALJ found Ms. Thompson has not
been under a disability as defined in the Social Security
Act, since May 31, 2012, the date her application was filed.
R. at 20. On March 7, 2014 Ms. Thompson requested a review of
the hearing decision. R. at 7. On March 26, 2015 the Appeals
Council denied Ms. Thompson’s request for review, R. at
1-3, making the ALJ’s determination the
Commissioner’s final decision.
evaluated Ms. Thompson’s claim for SSI using the
sequential evaluation process set forth in 20 C.F.R. §
416.920 (2013). Ms. Thompson bears the burden of
demonstrating her disability as to the first four steps. At
step five the burden shifts to the Commissioner. Mascio
v. Colvin, 780 F.3d 632, 635 (4th Cir. 2015).
one the ALJ found Ms. Thompson has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since May 31, 2012, the amended alleged
onset date. R. at 13. The ALJ concluded at step two that Ms.
Thompson has the following severe impairments: Depression
(NOS), Anxiety (NOS), and a Personality
Disorder. Id. Also at this step the ALJ found all
other alleged impairmentsnon-severe “because they did not
exist for a continuous period of at least 12 months, were
responsive to medication, did not require any significant
medical treatment, or did not result in any continuous
exertional or nonexertional functional limitations.”
Id. (citations omitted).
three the ALJ found Ms. Thompson does not have an impairment
or combination of impairments which meets or medically equals
a listed impairment. The ALJ specifically considered Listings
12.04 (affective disorders), 12.06 (anxiety related
disorders), and 12.08 (personality disorders). In accordance
with 20 C.F.R. § 416.920a the ALJ followed a special
technique to evaluate the severity of Ms. Thompson’s
mental impairments. The four broad functional areas-(1)
activities of daily living, (2) social functioning, (3)
concentration, persistence, or pace, and (4) episodes of
decompensation-are known as the “paragraph B”
criteria for most of the mental disorders listed in Appendix
determined Ms. Thomspon has a mild restriction in
her activities of daily living.
The claimant testified she had no problems walking, standing,
or sitting. She reported largely spending the day sitting in
her bedroom or taking naps secondary to depression. She
denied being able to perform housework, but stated she could
shop for supplies and cooks occasionally. The claimant
reported the hobby of watching television.
R. at 14. In addition to her testimony the ALJ considered the
June 27, 2012 and November 13, 2012 Functions Reports
completed by Ms. Thompson. See R. at 156-63, 171-78.
In the reports, she stated that additional activities,
including playing with her grandchild, taking care of others,
preparing complete meals on a daily basis, shopping for
food/clothing once a month for 2 hours in duration, and doing
laundry. Despite her testimony that she was too depressed to
largely perform household chores, the claimant noted in the
report that [she] was able to go outside on a daily basis,
unaccompanied, and she could travel by walking or riding in
an automobile. She reported no problems in tending to her
personal needs and grooming and did not require reminders.
R. at 14.
regard to social functioning, the ALJ found Ms. Thompson has
mild difficulties. Ms. Thompson testified the she
does not socialize outside of her home. R. at 51. In the
Function Reports she claimed difficulties conversing with
others and getting along with others. However “[i]n the
reports, she also noted the activities of playing with her
grandchild and taking care of others. The claimant reported