United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Otis E. Weatherford, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
KEVIN F. McDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
This case is before the court for a report and recommendation pursuant to Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a) DSC, concerning the disposition of Social Security cases in this District, and Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B).
The plaintiff brought this action pursuant to Section 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his claim for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
The plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits on March 29, 2010, alleging that he became unable to work on July 6, 2001. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration by the Social Security Administration. On December 27, 2010, the plaintiff requested a hearing. The administrative law judge ("ALJ"), before whom the plaintiff and Mary L. Cornelius, an impartial vocational expert appeared on November 2, 2011, considered the case de novo, and on December 2, 2011, found that the plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, as amended. The ALJ's finding became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security when the Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review on May 10, 2013. The plaintiff then filed this action for judicial review.
In making the determination that the plaintiff is not entitled to benefits, the Commissioner has adopted the following findings of the ALJ:
(1) Claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 29, 2010, the application date (20 C.F.R. § 416.971 et seq. ).
(2) Claimant has the following severe impairments: low IQ with high adaptive functioning; functional illiteracy; alcohol dependence, in very early remission; history of multiple bilateral foot fractures; and chronic low back pain (20 C.F.R. § 416.920(c)).
(3) Claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. § 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(4) After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967 with some additional limitations. Specifically, claimant can lift up to 10 pounds occasionally and lesser amounts frequently. He cannot stand more than an aggregate of 2 hours in an 8-hour day. Claimant can perform no more than occasional stooping, twisting, crouching, kneeling, crawling, balancing, and climbing of stairs and ramps. He is restricted from climbing ropes or scaffolds. He cannot use his right foot for foot pedals or other controls. Claimant is limited to reading at a 2nd grade level, spelling at a 2.1 grade level, and performing math at a 1.9 grade level, but is able to count change, make change, and ensure that he gets the correct change when he shops.
(5) Claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. § 416.965).
(6) Claimant was born on January 16, 1964, and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the date the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.963).
(7) Claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. § 416.964).
(8) Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled, " whether or not claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
(9) Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 C.F.R. § 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
(10) Claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since March 29, 2010, the date the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.920(g)).
The only issues before the court are whether proper legal standards were applied and whether the final decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence.
The Social Security Act provides that disability benefits shall be available to those persons insured for benefits, who are not of retirement age, who properly apply, and who are under a "disability." 42 U.S.C. § 423(a). "Disability" is defined in 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A) as:
the inability 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 ...