United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge
This matter is before the Court following the issuance of a Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) by United States Magistrate Judge Thomas E. Rogers. Plaintiff, Sharon Renee Hamm, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commission of Social Security (“the Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff’s claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). The Magistrate Judge recommended affirming the administrative law judge’s decision denying Plaintiff’s claim for benefits.
Factual Findings and Procedural History
Plaintiff applied for DIB on March 5, 2012, alleging disability as of February 1, 2012. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Plaintiff then requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). A hearing was held before the ALJ on August 20, 2013. Plaintiff, represented by an attorney, appeared and testified. A vocational expert also testified. The ALJ issued a decision on September 17, 2013, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ’s findings are as follows:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2015.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 1, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome; major depressive disorder; anxiety disorder; and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (20 C.F.R. 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 listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526).
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 the following additional limitations: frequently to use her bilateral upper extremities for pushing and pulling; never to climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; to perform only simple, routine, repetitive tasks; and to have occasional interaction with the public and coworkers.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a warehouseman and a packer/hand packager. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant’s residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 1, 2012, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f)).
[ALJ Decision, ECF #9-2, at 16-21, Tr. 15-20].
The ALJ’s finding became the final decision of the Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff’s request for further review on August 22, 2014. Plaintiff filed this action on September 9, 2014, seeking judicial review of the ALJ’s decision. [Compl., ECF #1]. Both Plaintiff and Defendant filed briefs, [ECF ## 14, 16 & 17]. The Magistrate Judge issued his Report and Recommendation (“R&R”) on December 23, 2015, recommending that the ALJ’s decision be affirmed. [R&R, ECF #20]. Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R&R on January 11, 2016. [Plaintiff’s ...