United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Steven Wayne Matranga, through counsel, brought this action
to obtain judicial review of an unfavorable final
administrative decision denying benefits on his October 20,
2009, applications for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under the Social Security Act
(“Act”). (R. 246-56.) 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).
History and ALJ's Findings
Plaintiff was born September 2, 1963, and was 46 years old on
the alleged onset of disability date, September 12, 2009. (R.
246, 253.) On his applications for DIB and SSI, the Plaintiff
claimed disability due to degenerative disc disease
(“DDD”) of the entire spine, bulging annuli of
the thoracic and cervical spine, gastrointestinal
impairments, somatoform disorder, depression, and anxiety.
(R. 394.) The Plaintiff's claims were initially denied
and denied on reconsideration. Following a hearing, an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) denied his claim on June 9,
2011. The Plaintiff appealed to the Appeals Council, and the
Appeals Council remanded the case back to the ALJ. The
Plaintiff appeared before a new ALJ on July 19, 2013. On
November 13, 2013, the ALJ issued a decision denying
benefits. (R. 28.) The Plaintiff again appealed to the
Appeals Council but was denied. The Plaintiff has exhausted
his 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 13, 2013 Decision:
(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through September 30, 2010.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 12, 2009, the alleged onset date (20
CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of spine, obesity, depressive
disorder, anxiety disorder, and somatoform 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, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and
416.967(c) except the claimant can perform only simple tasks,
no detailed or complex tasks. The claimant can perform a low
stress job, which I am defining as requiring occasional
decision making, occasional adaptation to change in work
setting, and no high production based tasks such as high
volume assembly line work. The claimant can have superficial
contact with the public, but should not perform customer
service work, counter work, or sales.
(6) The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a production line order puller, DOT Number 922.687-058,
SVP2, unskilled work. 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 September 12, 2009, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and
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. § 423(a). The Act
also provides that SSI disability benefits shall be available
for aged, blind, or disabled persons who have income and
resources below a specific amount. See 42 U.S.C.
§ 1381 et seq. “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 or can be
expected to last for a continuous period ...