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Miller v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

March 7, 2018

LISA K. MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Lisa K. Miller brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security Administration Commissioner's denial of her application for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act.

         An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that Miller had the medically determinable impairments of obesity, sinusitis, and ear infection, but these impairments were not severe through her date last insured of September 30, 2008.

         This matter is pending before the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here only to the extent necessary.

         For the following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner will be affirmed.

         I. Procedural History

         Miller protectively filed her application for DIB on August 2, 2012, claiming that she became unable to work on September 30, 2008, [1] because of fibromyalgia and high blood pressure. (Tr. 132-38, 166.) Her claims were denied initially. (Tr. 79-83.) Following an administrative hearing, Miller's claims were denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated April 24, 2014. (Tr. 10-16.) Miller then filed a request for review of the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council of the Social Security Administration (SSA), which was denied on August 12, 2015. (Tr. 1-6.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. '' 404.981, 416.1481.

         In her pro se brief, Miller argues that the ALJ “refused to review many updated medical records and explanations concerning” her diagnosis with fibromyalgia in June 2012. (Doc. 26 at p. 3.) After liberally construing Miller's brief, the undersigned finds no error, and will affirm the decision of the Commissioner.

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ first found that Miller last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on September 30, 2008. (Tr. 12.) She found that Miller did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of September 30, 2008, through her date last insured of September 30, 2008. Id.

         In addition, the ALJ concluded that Miller had the following medically determinable impairments: obesity, sinusitis, and ear infection. Id. The ALJ found that, through the date last insured, Miller did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limited her ability to perform basic work-related activities for twelve consecutive months. Id. The ALJ therefore concluded that Miller was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from September 30, 2008, the alleged onset date, through September 30, 2008, the date last insured. (Tr. 15.)

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits protectively filed on August 2, 2012, the claimant was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act ...

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