United States District Court, D. New Mexico
YVONNE E. HOLMES, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
C. YARBOUGHS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
MATTER is before the Court on the Social Security
Administrative Record filed January 30, 2019, Doc. 19, in
support of Plaintiff Yvonne E. Holmes' Complaint, Doc. 1,
seeking review of the decision of Defendant Andrew Saul,
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, denying
Plaintiff's claim for disability insurance benefits under
Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 401 et seq. On April 1, 2019, Plaintiff filed
her Motion To Reverse Or Remand Administrative Agency
Decision, Doc. 22, and Memorandum In Support, Doc. 23. The
Commissioner filed a Brief in Response on May 30, 2019. Doc.
25. Plaintiff did not file a reply, and the time to do so has
expired. The Court has jurisdiction to review the
Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c). Having meticulously reviewed
the entire record and the applicable law and being fully
advised in the premises, the Court finds the Motion is not
well taken and is DENIED.
Background and Procedural Record
Yvonne E. Holmes suffers from the following severe
impairments: bipolar disorder, sleep apnea, anxiety, asthma,
knee arthritis, and methamphetamine addiction in early
remission. Administrative Record (“AR”) at 18.
She alleges that she became disabled as of January 4, 2013.
Id. She completed eighth grade and has a GED. AR
251. She has past work experience as a bus driver and home
attendant. AR 23, 36-37, 49-51.
14, 2014, Ms. Holmes filed a claim of disability under Title
II. AR 23. She filed a claim under Title XVI on July 21,
2014. Id. Her applications were initially denied on
December 15, 2014 (AR 64-65), and upon reconsideration on
April 24, 2015 (AR 144-45). Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Raul C. Pardo conducted a hearing on
January 4, 2017. AR 40-54. Ms. Holmes appeared in person at
the hearing with attorney representative Jamie M. Dawson. AR
40. The ALJ took testimony from Ms. Holmes and an impartial
vocational expert (“VE”), Karen Provine. AR 40,
March 23, 2017, ALJ Pardo issued an unfavorable decision. AR
12-24. After the Appeals Council denied review on April 20,
2018, AR 1, Ms. Holmes appealed to federal court. Doc. 1. The
ALJ's decision is the Commissioner's final decision
for purposes of judicial review.
Disability Determination Process
individual is considered disabled if she is unable “to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A) (pertaining
to disability insurance benefits); see also Id.
§ 1382(a)(3)(A) (pertaining to supplemental security
income disability benefits for adult individuals). The Social
Security Commissioner has adopted the familiar five- step
sequential evaluation process (“SEP”) to
determine whether a person satisfies the statutory criteria
(1) At step one, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant
is engaged in “substantial gainful
activity.” If the claimant is engaged in substantial
gainful activity, she is not disabled regardless of her
(2) At step two, the ALJ must determine the severity of the
claimed physical or mental impairment(s). If the claimant
does not have an impairment(s) or combination of impairments
that is severe and meets the duration requirement, she is not
(3) At step three, the ALJ must determine whether a
claimant's impairment(s) meets or equals in severity one
of the listings described in Appendix 1 of the regulations
and meets the duration requirement. If so, a claimant is
(4) If, however, the claimant's impairments do not meet
or equal in severity one of the listings described in
Appendix 1 of the regulations, the ALJ must determine at step
four whether the claimant can perform her “past
relevant work.” Answering this question involves three
phases. Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017, 1023 (10th
Cir. 1996). First, the ALJ considers all of the relevant
medical and other evidence and determines what is “the
most [claimant] can still do despite [her physical and
mental] limitations.” 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1545(a)(1), 416.945(a)(1). This is called the
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”). Id. §§
404.1545(a)(3), 416.945(a)(3). Second, the ALJ determines the
physical and mental demands of claimant's past work.
Third, the ALJ determines whether, given claimant's RFC,
the claimant is capable of meeting those demands. A claimant
who is capable of returning to past relevant work is not
(5) If the claimant does not have the RFC to perform her past
relevant work, the Commissioner, at step five, must show that
the claimant is able to perform other work in the national
economy, considering the claimant's RFC, age, education,
and work experience. If the Commissioner is unable to make
that showing, the claimant is deemed disabled. If, however,