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Williams v. Colvin

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

January 21, 2016

Leroy Williams, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

MARY GORDON BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

This case is before the Court for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., concerning the disposition of Social Security cases in this District, and Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B).[1]

The Plaintiff, Leroy Williams, brought this action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, (42 U.S.C. Section 405(g)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security Administration regarding his claim for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act.

RELEVANT FACTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

Plaintiff was 58 years old on his amended alleged disability onset date of August 16, 2009. (R. at 11, 23.) Plaintiff claims disability due to, inter alia, congestive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); borderline intellectual functioning, cognitive disorder; and major depressive disorder with psychotic features. ( See R. at 13.) Plaintiff has a high school education and past relevant work as a bricklayer, security guard, and maintenance man. (R. at 23, 37.)

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on August 6, 2010. (R. at 11.) After his application was denied initially and on reconsideration, one hearing was held before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on December 6, 2011, and a subsequent hearing was held on March 7, 2013. (R. at 13.) In a decision dated March 29, 2013, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. (R. at 11-25.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, (R. at 1-5), making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of 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) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2013.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 16, 2009, the amended alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. ).
(3) The claimant has the following severe combination of impairments: congestive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), borderline intellectual functioning (BIF), cognitive disorder, and major depressive disorder with psychotic features in partial remission (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
(4) The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listings in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform less than the full range of medium work[2] as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) except that he must avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, wetness, humidity, dust, flumes, chemicals, noxious odors and poor ventilation. The work, which he can do, is limited to occupations, which involve the performance of simple, routine, repetitive tasks, with only occasional interaction with the public and coworkers. The claimant cannot work in an environment that is overly crowded or noisy.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
(7) The claimant was born on December 22, 1950 and was 58 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the amended alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to advanced age (20 CFR 404.1563).
(8) The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
(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 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 and 404.1569(a)).
(11) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from August 16, 2009, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

APPLICABLE LAW

The 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. ยง 423(a). "Disability" is defined in the Act 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 ...


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