Shoup v. Commissioner of Social Security
OPINION ; signed by Chief Judge Robert J. Jonker (Chief Judge Robert J. Jonker, ymc)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
Case No. 1:16-CV-581
HON. ROBERT J. JONKER
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
This is a social security action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial
review of a final decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner). Plaintiff seeks review of the Commissioner’s decision denying his claim for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act. Section 405(g) limits
the Court to a review of the administrative record, and provides that if the Commissioner’s decision
is supported by substantial evidence, it shall be conclusive.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The scope of judicial review in a social security case is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the proper legal standards in making her decision and whether
there exists in the record substantial evidence supporting that decision. See Brainard v. Sec’y of
Health & Human Servs., 889 F.2d 679, 681 (6th Cir. 1989). The Court may not conduct a de novo
review of the case, resolve evidentiary conflicts, or decide questions of credibility. See Garner v.
Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984). It is the Commissioner who is charged with finding the
facts relevant to an application for disability benefits, and her findings are conclusive provided they
are supported by substantial evidence. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance. See
Cohen v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 964 F.2d 524, 528 (6th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted).
It is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Bogle v. Sullivan, 998 F.2d 342, 347 (6th Cir.
1993). In determining the substantiality of the evidence, the Court must consider the evidence on
the record as a whole and take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight.
See Richardson v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 735 F.2d 962, 963 (6th Cir. 1984). The
substantial evidence standard presupposes the existence of a zone within which the decision maker
can properly rule either way, without judicial interference. See Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545
(6th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted). This standard affords to the administrative decision maker
considerable latitude, and indicates that a decision supported by substantial evidence will not be
reversed simply because the evidence would have supported a contrary decision. See Bogle, 998
F.2d at 347; Mullen, 800 F.2d at 545.
Plaintiff was fifty-one years of age as of his alleged disability onset date.
(PageID.100.) He has earned an Associate’s Degree, and has previously been employed as a print
unit technician, a roll room technician, a palletizer, and as a material handler. (PageID.62, 72–74.)
Plaintiff applied for benefits on October 29, 2013, alleging disability beginning May 6, 2013, due
to PTSD, bipolar disorder, depression with suicide attempts, HIV, osteoarthritis, post left hip
arthroplasty, anxiety, and chronic insomnia with night terrors. (PageID.100–101, 170–171.)
Plaintiff’s application was denied on April 16, 2014, after which time he requested a hearing before
an ALJ. (PageID.114–119.) On August 21, 2015, Plaintiff appeared with his counsel before ALJ
James Prothro for an administrative hearing with testimony being offered by Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE). (PageID.53–98.) In a written decision dated December 28, 2015, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff was not disabled. (PageID.32–52.) On March 21, 2016, the Appeals
Council declined to review the ALJ’s decision, making it the Commissioner’s final decision in the
matter. (PageID.25–30.) Plaintiff subsequently initiated this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
The social security regulations articulate a five-step sequential process for evaluating
disability. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a-f).1 If the Commissioner can make a dispositive finding at
any point in the review, no further finding is required. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). The regulations
also provide that if a claimant suffers from a nonexertional impairment as well as an exertional
impairment, both are considered in determining the claimant’s residual functional capacity (RFC).
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545.
An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity will not be found to be
“disabled” regardless of medical findings (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b));
An individual who does not have a “severe impairment” will not be found “disabled” (20 C.F.R.
If an individual is not working and is suffering from a severe impairment which meets the duration
requirement and which “meets or equals” a listed impairment in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of
Regulations No. 4, a finding of “disabled” will be made without consideration of vocational factors
(20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d));
If an individual is capable of performing work he or she has done in the past, a finding of “not
disabled” must be made (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e));
If an individual’s impairment is so severe as to preclude the performance of past work, other factors
including age, education, past work experience, and residual functional capacity must be considered
to determine if other work can be performed. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(f)).
Plaintiff has the burden of proving the existence and severity of limitations caused
by his impairments and that he is precluded from performing past relevant work through step four.
Jones v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003). At step five, it is the
Commissioner’s burden “to identify a significant number of jobs in the economy that accommodate
the claimant’s residual functional capacity (determined at step four) and vocational profile.” Id.
ALJ Prothro determined that Plaintiff’s claim failed at the fifth step of the evaluation.
At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his
alleged disability onset date. (PageID.37.) At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the severe
impairments of: (1) left hip osteoarthritis status-post hip arthroplasty; (2) obesity; (3) HIV positive;
(4) an affective disorder; and (5) an anxiety disorder. (PageID.37.) At the third step, the ALJ found
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled the
requirements of the Listing of Impairments. (PageID.38–40.) At the fourth step, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC based on all the impairments:
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except he
can occasionally climb and balance. He is limited to simple,
repetitive tasks, one to two step tasks, and no fast-paced work.
(PageID.40.) Continuing with the fourth step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of his past relevant work. (PageID.46.) At the fifth step, the ALJ questioned the VE to
determine whether a significant number of jobs exist in the economy that Plaintiff could perform
given his limitations. See Richardson, 735 F.2d at 964. The VE testified that Plaintiff could perform
other work as a routing clerk (7,500 regional positions), general clerk (8,000 regional positions), and
as an office helper (8,000 regional positions). (PageID.94–95.) Based on this record,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff was capable of making a successful adjustment to work that exists in
significant numbers in the national economy. (PageID.47.)
Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled from May 6, 2013,
the alleged disability onset date, through December 28, 2015, the date of decision. (PageID.47–48.)
The ALJ’s RFC Discussion.
As noted above, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was capable of performing a limited
range of light work. Plaintiff claims the ALJ erred here in three respects: first, by failing to include
a limitation for the use of a cane, second, by failing to follow SSR 96–8p, and third by failing to
include the moderate restrictions on Plaintiff’s mental capabilities offered by the agency reviewer.
The Court disagrees.
A claimant’s RFC represents his ability to perform “work-related physical and mental
activities in a work setting on a regular and continuing basis,” defined as “8 hours a day, for 5 days
a week, or an equivalent work schedule.” SSR 96–8P, 1996 WL 374184 at *1 (SSA. July 2, 1996);
see also Payne v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 402 F. App’x 109, 116 (6th Cir. 2010). RFC is the most, not
the least, a claimant can do despite his impairments. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a); Griffeth v. Comm’r
of Soc. Sec., 217 F. App’x 425, 429 (6th Cir. 2007). At this point, the burden remains on Plaintiff
to demonstrate a disability. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(5)(A).
Use of a Cane.
Plaintiff first argues that the ALJ should have found he requires the use of a cane to
ambulate. SSR 96–9p governs under what circumstances an ALJ is required to include a limitation
for a hand-held assistive device, such as a cane. In relevant part the ruling states:
To find that a hand-held assistive device is medically required, there
must be medical documentation establishing the need for a hand-held
assistive device to aid in walking or standing, and describing the
circumstances for which it is needed (i.e., whether all the time,
periodically, or only in certain situations; distance and terrain; and
any other relevant information). The adjudicator must always
consider the particular facts of a case.
SSR 96–9p, 1996 WL 374185, at *7 (July 2, 1996). While the evidence demonstrates that Plaintiff
may have temporarily required the use of a cane during the period leading up to, and immediately
following, the surgery on his left hip, the evidence provided by Plaintiff demonstrates he no longer
requires the use of a cane, and furthermore that, to the extent Plaintiff required the use of a cane to
ambulate in the past, such limitation lasted less than twelve months.
On June 12, 2013, Plaintiff visited Dr. Michael Dandois, his treating physician,
complaining of persistent lower back and hip pain for the last month. (PageID.481.) Plaintiff had
used Ibuprofen, heat, ice, rest, and stretching without experiencing pain relief. (PageID.481.) While
x-rays of Plaintiff’s lower back were “overall, o.k” there was “some significant [osteoarthritis]
changes” in Plaintiff’s left hip. (PageID.482.) Dr. Dandois referred Plaintiff to Dr. Bernard Roehr,
an orthopedic surgeon. (PageID.482.) Plaintiff met with Dr. Roehr on August 7, 2013. Plaintiff
stated he had experienced hip pain since 2006, but he had not used any assistive devices.
(PageID.296.) Plaintiff felt that the pain interfered with his ability to do “grunt work” jobs, but still
thought he could do his regular job. However, he had been off work since June. (PageID.296.)
Dr. Roehr reviewed Plaintiff’s x-rays and found “end state osteoarthritis of the left hip. There is
bone on bone contact in the dome area and mild flattening of the femoral head.” (PageID.298.) He
concluded that Plaintiff was “a good candidate” for hip arthroplasty. The surgeon noted that if all
went well, Plaintiff would be in the hospital for three or four days, and would require crutches for
six weeks before “weaning himself” from that support. (PageID.298.) Plaintiff elected to undergo
surgery. (PageID.299.) A few days later, on August 13, 2013, Plaintiff returned to Dr. Dandois.
Though Dr. Dandois’ treatment note is cursory, it appears Plaintiff was given a prescription for the
use of a cane, adjustable or fixed, with a tip. (PageID.479.) This appears to be the earliest mention
of a cane in the record.
Plaintiff underwent a left total hip arthroscopy without complications on
September 30, 2013. (PageID.314.) It appears that after his surgery Plaintiff initially used a walker
to assist ambulation. (PageID.417.) By his six-week postoperative checkup on November 13, 2013,
however, Plaintiff was using a cane to ambulate. (PageID.440.) At that six-week checkup, Plaintiff
reported to Dr. Roehr that his hip was “doing great” and he had much less pain. He was not taking
any pain medications, and reported pain only with long walks or heavy activity. He was able to walk
six blocks. (PageID.440.) On exam, it was noted there was a mild Trendelenberg limp present, but
there was no edema or swelling. (PageID.442.) Dr. Roehr recorded that he was “pleased” with
Plaintiff’s progress and encouraged Plaintiff to begin weaning himself from the cane for support.
Dr. Roehr prescribed strengthening exercises, and scheduled a follow up visit in six months.
(PageID.443.) The next mention of Plaintiff’s ability to ambulate is recorded on May 5, 2014, less
than seven months after Dr. Dandois first prescribed a cane to Plaintiff. Plaintiff was seen by
Dr. Pimpawan Boapimp, M.D., at the Western University of Michigan School of Medicine Clinic.
At this visit, Plaintiff discussed a variety of ailments, both physical and mental, with Dr. Boapimp.
Relevant here is Plaintiff’s report that he had some remaining discomfort in his left hip, but the pain
was much better than before the surgery. He was exercising every day, and three times a week he
would lift weights using both of his legs for thirty minutes and bike for another thirty minutes.
(PageID.534.) During this visit, Dr. Boapimp performed a physical examination and noted that
Plaintiff “can walk without any problems and without a walker or a cane.” (PageID.536.) A little
over six months later, on September 24, 2014, Dr. Boapimp performed another physical examination
and again found a normal gait. (PageID.531.) And after another six months, on March 11, 2015,
Plaintiff reported he was biking and walking a dog for exercise. (PageID.519.)
In sum, it is plain that Plaintiff required the use of a hand-held assistive device
between his August 13, 2013, visit with Dr. Dandois and his November 13, 2013, checkup with his
surgeon. Thereafter, however, he was told to wean himself off from the use of the device, and by
March of the following year (if not sooner), Plaintiff did not require the use of cane to ambulate.
Furthermore, record evidence continues to show Plaintiff had a normal gait and was able to walk
unassisted. Plaintiff’s temporary use of the cane was not long enough to meet the twelve-month
threshold for disability based on the cane alone. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1509; Abbott v. Sullivan, 905
F.2d 918, 923 (6th Cir.1990); Ford v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 13-CV-14478, 2015 WL 1119962,
at *2 (E.D. Mich., Mar. 11, 2015). And the records discussed above fail to support Plaintiff’s
assertion that he continues to require the use of a cane to ambulate. To the contrary, they are
consistent with the ALJ’s conclusion that Plaintiff retains the capacity to perform a limited range of
light work, and the ALJ properly did not include use of a cane as a limit in his RFC. This claim of
error is rejected.
With respect to mental abilities, the regulations provide that:
When we assess your mental abilities, we first assess the nature and
extent of your mental limitations and restrictions and then determine
your residual functional capacity for work activity on a regular and
continuing basis. A limited ability to carry out certain mental
activities, such as limitations in understanding, remembering, and
carrying out instructions, and in responding appropriately to
supervision, coworkers, and work pressures in a work setting, may
reduce your ability to do past work and other work.
20 C.F.R. § 405.1545(c). Plaintiff argues that the ALJ’s RFC discussion regarding his mental
impairments fails to fulfill the requirements of SSR 96–8p, specifically by failing to satisfy the
ruling’s “narrative discussion” requirement. (PageID.853–854.)
According to SSR 96–8p, the RFC assessment “must include a narrative discussion
describing how the evidence supports each conclusion, citing specific medical facts (e.g., laboratory
findings) and nonmedical evidence (e.g., daily activities, observations).” SSR 96–8p, 1996 WL
374184, at *7. The ALJ must “explain how any material inconsistencies or ambiguities in the
evidence in the case record were considered and resolved,” discuss “why reported symptom-related
functional limitations and restrictions can or cannot reasonably be accepted as consistent with the
medical and other evidence,” “consider and address medical source opinions,” and “[i]f the RFC
assessment conflicts with an opinion from a medical source . . . explain why the opinion was not
The portion of the ALJ’s opinion dealing with the RFC assessment spans over five
pages and includes a summary of Plaintiff’s testimony, the ALJ’s credibility analysis, a discussion
of the medical evidence, and a summary of the opinion evidence. After discussing these records, the
In sum, the above residual functional capacity assessment is
supported by the claimant’s positive response to his medications; his
good activities of daily living; and the record as a whole.
(PageID.46.) The Court finds this narrative, combined with the detailed discussion of the medical
evidence, to be sufficient.
Moreover, there is plainly substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s RFC decision
on this issue. Plaintiff has longstanding PTSD, ADD, anxiety, and depression stemming from
childhood abuse. (PageID.519.) However, he managed these issues and functioned reasonably well
throughout much of his adult life. He suffered disruption and increased severity in his symptoms
in 2012-2013, after an HIV diagnosis and a new treatment regimen for it. (PageID.304.) This
negative spiral culminated in an October 2013 apparent suicide attempt and hospitalization because
of it. But that does not end the story. The medical record reflects steady recovery and stabilization
following the hospital stay. Within weeks of release, he was making good progress toward his goals.
(PageID.501.) The following two records noted partial remission of depression (PageID.471) and
appropriate insight (PageID.473.) By March of 2014, Plaintiff reported ongoing issues, but was
overall stable and happy. (PageID.534.) Six months later, he reported various medications were
helping. (PageID.527.) The general trajectory continued into 2015. (PageiD.525, 590–591.) The
ALJ’s RFC appropriately accounts for all this.
While Plaintiff would apparently prefer a more detailed analysis, that is not what is
required by the Sixth Circuit. See Delgado v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 30 F. App’x 542, 547 (6th Cir.
2002) (finding that SSR 96–8p does not require ALJs to produce a detailed function-by-function
statement in writing). Rather, “the ALJ need only articulate how the evidence in the record supports
the RFC determination, discuss the claimant’s ability to perform sustained work-related activities,
and explain the resolution of any inconsistencies in the record.” Id. at 548 (citation omitted); see also
Rudd v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 531 F. App’x 719, 729 (6th Cir. 2013) (SSR 96–8p merely requires
the ALJ to “address a claimant’s exertional and nonexertional capacities and also describe how the
evidence supports h[is] conclusions”). The Court finds the ALJ’s analysis is sufficient to pass
muster under SSR 96–8p.
The ALJ’s Evaluation of Dr. Larry Irey’s Opinion.
Next, Plaintiff contends the ALJ failed to properly incorporate the moderate mental
limitations offered by Dr. Larry Irey, Ph.D., a non-examining agency consultant. The regulations
provide that the agency will evaluate every medical opinion received “[r]egardless of its source,” and
that unless a treating source’s opinion is given controlling weight, the agency will consider the
factors set forth in § 405.1527(c)(1)-(6) in deciding the weight given to any medical opinion. See 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). While the ALJ is required to give “good reasons” for the weight assigned a
treating source’s opinion, see Wilson v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 545 (6th Cir. 2004), this
articulation requirement does not apply when an ALJ rejects the report of a non-treating medical
source. See Smith v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 482 F.3d 873, 876 (6th Cir. 2007); see also Perry ex rel.
G.D. v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 501 F. App’x 425, 426 (6th Cir. 2012). However, “the ALJ’s decision
still must say enough to allow the appellate court to trace the path of his reasoning.” Stacey v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 451 F. App’x 517, 519 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal quotation marks omitted)
Dr. Irey’s assessment began by responding to questions that asked for his opinion
regarding the severity of Plaintiff’s functional limitations in an area commonly referred to as
“paragraph B” criteria. Dr. Irey indicated that Plaintiff had mild restrictions in activities of daily
living, mild difficulties in maintaining social functioning, and moderate difficulties in maintaining
concentration, persistence or pace. Furthermore, Dr. Irey stated that Plaintiff had suffered one or two
episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration. (PageID.105.) Dr. Irey then was asked to
complete questions regarding Plaintiff’s mental RFC. On many of these questions, Dr. Irey
answered that Plaintiff had moderate restrictions.2 The form cautioned that “[t]he questions below
help determine the individual’s ability to perform sustained work activities. However, the actual
mental residual functional capacity assessment is recorded in the narrative discussion(s), which
describes how the evidence supports each conclusion.” (PageID.107) (emphasis added). Dr. Irey
provided four narrative statements.
Regarding Plaintiff’s understanding and memory limitations, Dr. Irey remarked that
Plaintiff retained the capacity to understand and remember simple 1-2 step instructions.
(PageID.108.) As for Plaintiff’s sustained concentration and persistence limitations, Dr. Irey wrote
that Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform simple tasks. (PageID.108.) Furthermore, Dr. Irey
remarked that Plaintiff’s limitations in social interaction nonetheless allowed Plaintiff to engage in
routine work related interactions. (PageID.109.) Finally, Dr. Irey stated that to account for
Plaintiff’s adaptive limitations, Plaintiff should be limited to jobs that are considered relatively low
stress with duties that remain relatively static over time. (PageID.109.). After summarizing the
doctor’s opinion, the ALJ gave the opinion partial weight. He found that “Dr. Irey’s conclusions that
the claimant was limited to simple work is consistent with the record, but the conclusion that the
claimant had experienced one or two episodes of decompensation, each of extended duration is not
supported by the record.” (PageID.45.) Plaintiff points out that the ALJ only specifically rejected
Specifically, Dr. Irey’s completed assessment notes that Plaintiff was not significantly limited in the ability
to understand, remember, and carry out very short and simple instructions, but was moderately limited in the ability to
do so with detailed instructions. (PageID.108.) Furthermore, Plaintiff was moderately limited in the ability to maintain
attention and concentration for extended periods and also moderately limited in the ability to complete a normal workday
and workweek without interruptions from his psychological symptoms and he was similarly limited regarding his ability
to perform at a consistent pace without an unreasonable number and length of rest periods. (PageID.108.) Dr. Irey also
indicated Plaintiff was moderately limited in his ability to interact appropriately with the general public, and moderately
limited in the ability to respond appropriately to changes in the work setting. (PageID.109.)
the doctor’s conclusions regarding the paragraph b criteria. Accordingly, Plaintiff contends, the ALJ
should have included the moderate limitations in his RFC assessment.
As the Commissioner points out, a vague assertion that Plaintiff might be moderately
limited does not necessarily indicate that Plaintiff is unable to adequately function in a specific area.
Moreover, the plain text of assessment questionnaire states that the actual functional capacity
assessment should be found from the doctor’s answers to the narrative discussion questions.
Plaintiff does not argue that the ALJ’s RFC assessment is in any way inconsistent with these
narrative answers. In short, the Court is able to trace the path of the ALJ’s reasoning here and the
ALJ properly evaluated this opinion under agency regulations. Plaintiff’s claim of error will be
The ALJ’s Credibility Evaluation.
As noted above, Plaintiff applied for disability benefits on October 29, 2013, alleging
disability beginning May 6, 2013. (PageID.100–101.) During the second quarter of 2014, well after
disability onset date, Plaintiff
received unemployment benefits.
(PageID.172–173.) After noting Plaintiff had received these benefits, the ALJ discounted Plaintiff’s
credibility, in part, by stating that “[i]n order to receive unemployment benefits, the claimant would
have had to attest that he was ready, willing, and able to work. This is inconsistent with his
allegations of disabling symptoms.” (PageID.44.)
This district, as well as the Sixth Circuit, has recognized the apparent contradiction
between a claimant seeking disability benefits while simultaneously receiving unemployment
compensation. See, e.g., Workman v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 105 F. App’x 794, 801–802 (6th Cir.
2004); see also Loyacano v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 1: 13–cv–144, 2014 WL 1660072, at *5
(W.D. Mich. Apr. 25, 2014) (collecting cases); Smith v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 1:12–cv–904,
2014 WL 197846, at * 16 (S.D. Ohio Jan. 15, 2014); Barton v. Astrue, No. 3:11–cv–1239, 2013 WL
6196297, at * 7 (M.D. Tenn. Nov. 27, 2013). Plaintiff argues, however, that this line of cases no
longer applies due to subsequent developments in agency policy. Specifically, Plaintiff points to an
August 2010, memorandum from Frank A. Cristaudo, the Chief Administrative Law Judge for the
Social Security Administration. That memo instructs ALJs that “the receipt of unemployment
benefits does not preclude the receipt of Social Security disability benefits. The receipt of
unemployment benefits is only one of many factors that must be considered in determining whether
the claimant is disabled.” Webster v. Colvin, 2014 WL 4095341, at *9 (E.D. Tenn., Aug. 19, 2014).
As Chief ALJ Cristaudo explained, “because the disability decisionmaking process is uncertain and
quite lengthy, a claimant should not be forced to choose between applying for unemployment and
disability benefits.” Id.
Plaintiff argues that this memo precludes consideration of a claimant’s receipt of
unemployment benefits. Here, the ALJ did not base the credibility determination solely on
Plaintiff’s receipt of unemployment benefits. Rather, the ALJ also noted that other factors, including
Plaintiff’s daily activities and medical history, combined with the receipt of unemployment benefits
stood at odds with his disability claim. (PageID.43–44.) This was entirely appropriate, and Plaintiff
does not address the other considerations provided by the ALJ for discounting Plaintiff’s credibility.
Moreover, Plaintiff’s interpretation of the memo overreads the Administration’s policy. As the
memo itself states, the receipt of unemployment benefits is a factor that may be considered. As such,
the deference generally accorded an ALJ’s credibility determination is appropriate here. This claim
of error will be denied.
For the reasons articulated herein, the undersigned concludes that the ALJ’s decision
is AFFIRMED. A separate judgment shall issue.
May 23, 2017
/s/ Robert J. Jonker
ROBERT J. JONKER
CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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