United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Greenville Division
Michael D. Cook, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
Michael D Cook, Plaintiff, represented by W. Daniel Mayes,
Smith Massey Brodie Thumond Guynn and Mayes.
Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant,
represented by Marshall Prince, U.S. Attorneys Office.
REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
F. McDONALD, Magistrate Judge.
case is before the court for a report and recommendation
pursuant to Local Civ. 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
plaintiff brought this action pursuant to Sections 205(g) and
1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C.
405(g) and 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his
claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income benefits under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act.
plaintiff filed applications for disability insurance
benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income
("SSI") benefits on January 10 and 11, 2012,
respectively, alleging that he became unable to work on
December 25, 2009. The applications were denied initially and
on reconsideration by the Social Security Administration. On
May 19, 2012, the plaintiff requested a hearing. The
administrative law judge ("ALJ"), before whom the
plaintiff and Mark Leaptrot, an impartial vocational expert,
appeared on August 1, 2013, considered the case de
novo, and on January 10, 2014, 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 April 13, 2015. The plaintiff then filed this action for
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 March 31, 2014.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 25, 2009, the alleged onset date (20
C.F.R Â§Â§ 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Dysfunction Major Joints - Left Knee and Right Shoulder;
Disorders of the Spine; and Affective and Anxiety Disorders
(20 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525,
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 unskilled work at the light
exertional level of work as defined in 20 C.F.R. Â§Â§
404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) with occasional climbing ramps or
stairs; occasional balancing and stooping; no climbing
ladders, ropes, scaffolds; no kneeling, crouching, or
crawling; frequent right upper extremity lateral and forward
reaching but no right upper extremity overhead reaching; the
need to avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, wetness, and
humidity, and excessive vibration; the need to avoid exposure
to hazards and heights; and, the need to avoid driving. The
claimant is able to perform unskilled, low-stress work that
is not fast-paced production work; with only occasional
changes in the work setting and occasional decision-making;
and, occasional interaction with the public and co-workers.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on December 21, 1973, and was 36
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (20 C.F.R. Â§Â§
404.1563 and 416.963).
(8) The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 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 C.F.R. 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 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 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 December 25, 2009, through
the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. Â§Â§ 404.1520(g) and
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.
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. Â§ 423(a).
"Disability" is defined in 42 U.S.C. Â§ 423(d)(1)(A)
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 ...