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Karic v. Saul

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

September 12, 2019

DZENETA KARIC, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL,[1] Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Dzeneta Karic 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 under Title II of the Social Security Act.

         An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that, despite Karic's severe impairments, she was not disabled as she had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform past relevant work.

         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

         Karic filed her application for benefits on May 4, 2015, claiming that she became unable to work on April 24, 2015. (Tr. 160-61.) In her Disability Report, Karic alleged disability due to post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). (Tr. 181.) Karic was 35 years of age on her alleged onset of disability date. (Tr. 50.) Her application was denied initially. (Tr. 92-97.) Karic's claim was denied by an ALJ on September 28, 2017. (Tr. 41-52.) On June 13, 2018, the Appeals Council denied Karic's claim for review. (Tr. 1-7.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.

         In this action, Karic argues that “the ALJ improperly weighed the opinion of Plaintiff's treating psychiatrist, Dr. Ardekani.” (Doc. 17 at p. 5.) Karic also contends that the ALJ “improperly weighed the opinion of the state agency psychological consultant.” Id. at p. 8.

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ first found that Karic meets the insured status requirements of the Act through September 30, 2020. (Tr. 43.) She next found that Karic did not engage in substantial gainful activity since April 24, 2015, her alleged onset date. Id. In addition, the ALJ concluded that Karic had the following severe impairments: depressive disorder, anxiety disorder with panic attacks, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (“ADHD”), and PTSD. Id. The ALJ found that Karic did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments. (Tr. 44.)

         As to Karic's RFC, the ALJ stated:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: the claimant is limited to noncomplex tasks consistent with a specific vocational preparation (SVP) of 1 or 2 (i.e., unskilled work).

(Tr. 45.)

         The ALJ found that Karic was able to perform her past relevant work as a custodian/janitor. (Tr. 50.) In the alternative, the ALJ found that Karic could perform other jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 51.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Karic was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from April 24, 2015, through the date of the decision. Id.

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits protectively filed on May 4, 2015, the claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) ...

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