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Hughes v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

January 12, 2016

Cindy Meredith Hughes, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.


          MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff Cindy Meredith Hughes, through counsel, brought this action to obtain judicial review of an unfavorable final administrative decision denying benefits on her March 22, 2011 and March 24, 2011 applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the Social Security Act ("Act"). See Section 205(g) of the SSA, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 405(g). This matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., and Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B).

         Procedural History and ALJ's Findings

         The Plaintiff was born August 19, 1961 and was 49 years old on the alleged onset of disability date, November 1, 2010. (R. 194.) The Plaintiff filed for DIB and SSI on March 22, 2011, and March 24, 2011, respectively. (R. 194, 202.) The Plaintiff claimed disability due to seizures, severe depression, post-traumatic stress disorder ("PTSD"), anxiety/panic attacks, and chronic pain. (R. 255.) The Plaintiff's claims were initially denied and denied on reconsideration. (R. 25.) Following a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied her claim on November 14, 2012. (R. 39.) The Plaintiff has exhausted her administrative remedies. The ALJ's decision is now the Commissioner's final action for purposes of judicial review. In making the determination that the Plaintiff is not entitled to benefits, the Commissioner adopted the following findings of the ALJ's November 14, 2012 Decision (Id.):

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2013.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 1, 2010 the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: colitis, seizure disorder, pulmonary atelectasis and fibrosis, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
(4) The 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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except no ladders, ropes, or scaffolding. The claimant can climb ramps or stairs frequently but must avoid all exposure to hazards. Although the claimant can manage simple instructions, she should have no more than occasional superficial contact with the general public, in an environment with few changes to the workplace or to the working conditions, and no spoken interaction with the general public. In addition the claimant should have no exposure to gases, dusts, fumes, or other respiratory irritants.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on August 19, 1961 and was 49 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
(8) The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564 and 416-964).
(9) 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 the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
(10) 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 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, and 416.969(a)).
(11) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 1, 2010, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(R. ...

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