Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Chapin v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, D. New Hampshire

November 28, 2018

Debra Chapin
v.
Commissioner of Social Security

          ORDER

          LANDYA MCCAFFERTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Debra Chapin seeks judicial review of the decision of the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, denying her application for social security income benefits. Chapin moves to reverse the Acting Commissioner's decision, and the Acting Commissioner moves to affirm. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants Chapin's motion to reverse and denies the Acting Commissioner's motion to affirm.

         STANDARD OF REVIEW

         In reviewing the final decision of the Acting Commissioner in a social security case, the court “is limited to determining whether the [Administrative Law Judge] deployed the proper legal standards and found facts upon the proper quantum of evidence.” Nguyen v. Chater, 172 F.3d 31, 35 (1st Cir. 1999); accord Seavey v. Barnhart, 276 F.3d 1, 9 (1st Cir. 2001). The court defers to the ALJ's factual findings as long as they are supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see also Fischer v. Colvin, 831 F.3d 31, 34 (1st Cir. 2016). “Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Astralis Condo. Ass'n v. Sec'y Dep't of Housing & Urban Dev., 620 F.3d 62, 66 (1st Cir. 2010).

         In determining whether a claimant is disabled, the ALJ follows a five-step sequential analysis. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4). The claimant “has the burden of production and proof at the first four steps of the process.” Freeman v. Barnhart, 274 F.3d 606, 608 (1st Cir. 2001). The first three steps are (1) determining whether the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity; (2) determining whether she has a severe impairment; and (3) determining whether the impairment meets or equals a listed impairment. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(i)-(iii).

         At the fourth step of the sequential analysis, the ALJ assesses the claimant's residual functional capacity (“RFC”), which is a determination of the most a person can do in a work setting despite her limitations caused by impairments, Id. § 416.945(a)(1), and her past relevant work, Id. § 416.920(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant can perform her past relevant work, the ALJ will find that the claimant is not disabled. See Id. § 416.920(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant cannot perform her past relevant work, the ALJ proceeds to Step Five, in which the ALJ has the burden of showing that jobs exist in the economy which the claimant can do in light of the RFC assessment. See Id. § 416.920(a)(4)(v).

         BACKGROUND

         A detailed statement of the facts can be found in the parties' Joint Statement of Material Facts (doc. no. 13). The court provides a brief summary of the case here.

         On April 2, 2014, Chapin filed an application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental social security income benefits, alleging a disability onset date of August 25, 2008, when she was 36 years old. She alleged a disability due to depression, anxiety, diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and gastroesophageal reflux disease.

         After Chapin's claim was denied, she requested a hearing in front of an ALJ. On January 14, 2016, the ALJ held a video hearing, during which Chapin testified and was represented by an attorney. At some point prior to or during the hearing, Chapin amended her disability onset date to April 2, 2014. In light of the amendment, the ALJ dismissed Chapin's request for disability insurance benefits because she did not have disability insured status on her amended onset date.

         On March 2, 2016, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. He found that Chapin had the following severe impairments: fibromyalgia, obesity, bipolar disorder with depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and alcohol use disorder. The ALJ also found that Chapin had the residual functional capacity to perform light work, as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b), with certain limitations as to her ability to maintain attention and concentration and socially interact with others.

         Dennis J. King, an impartial vocational expert, testified at the hearing. In response to hypotheticals posed by the ALJ, King testified that a person with Chapin's RFC could perform the job of folding machine operator, a job that Chapin held within the past 15 years. Based on King's testimony, the ALJ found at Step Four that Chapin was not disabled.

         On July 26, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Chapin's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Acting ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.