United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
Patricia Ann Andrews, as substitute party for Eugene Robert Andrews, III, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
Plaintiff Patricia Ann Andrews (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of the deceased claimant Eugene Robert Andrews, III (“Andrews”), seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying Andrews’s claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the Social Security Act (the “Act”). The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett, made in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2) for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court affirm the Commissioner’s decision. [ECF #14, p. 1].
Factual Findings and Procedural History
On May 26, 2011, Andrews filed a claim for DIB alleging a disability onset date of February 12, 2011. [ECF #10, p. 1]. Andrews previously received a closed period of disability from December 17, 2008 until August 31, 2010, because he suffered from a work-related injury to his right hand on December 17, 2008. [ECF #10, p. 2]. After being unable to return to work, Andrews filed this new application. [ECF #10, p. 2]. The Commissioner denied his application initially and on reconsideration, so Plaintiff requested a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). [ECF #10, p. 1]. The ALJ held a hearing on February 11, 2013. [ECF #10, p. 2]. The ALJ denied Andrews’s claim on May 3, 2013, finding that Andrews was not disabled. [ECF #14, p. 3]. The ALJ’s findings were as follows:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 12, 2011, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: Status post traumatic injury to the right hand with amputation of the middle and ring fingers and deformities to the index and little fingers, degenerative joint disease of the right shoulder status post arthroscopic surgery, obesity, anxiety disorder, personality disorder, and bipolar disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
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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 and 404.1526).
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5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) with certain additional limitations. The claimant is capable of lifting and/or carrying 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. The claimant is capable of sitting, standing, and walking for 6 hours each out of an 8-hour workday. The claimant can never push/pull with the right upper extremity. The claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant can use the right upper extremity only as a helper hand. The claimant must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards. The claimant can perform work involving simple, one-two step tasks and occasional contact with the public.
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6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
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7. The claimant was born on March 1, 1969 and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49 (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 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 ...