United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division
BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court following the issuance of a Report
and Recommendation (“R&R”) by United States
Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett. Plaintiff, Yolanda Yevette
Gardner, 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”) and
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). The
Magistrate Judge recommended affirming the Administrative Law
Judge's decision denying Plaintiff's claim for
Findings and Procedural History
applied for DIB and SSI on December 15, 2011, alleging
disability as of October 15, 2010. The applications were
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 21, 2013. Plaintiff, represented by a non-attorney
representative, appeared and testified. A vocational expert
also testified. The ALJ issued a decision on September 19,
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 June 30, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 15, 2010, 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; obesity; and bilateral knee
osteoarthritis and internal derangement status/post right
knee arthroscopy (20 C.F.R. 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. 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
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 sedentary work as defined in
20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she cannot push
or pull with the lower extremities. She can occasionally
climb ramps/stairs and stoop but do no kneeling, climbing of
ladders/ropes/scaffolds, balancing for safety on dangerous
surfaces, crouching or crawling. She can frequently reach
bilaterally and should avoid exposure to hazards such as
unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery.
Additionally, she requires a sit/stand option at the
workstation every 30 minutes to one hour.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on February 13, 1971, and was 39
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English. (20 CFR 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 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, 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 October 15, 2010, through
the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and
[ALJ Decision, ECF #10-2, at 13-22, Tr. 27-37].
ALJ's finding became the final decision of the
Commissioner when the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for further review on January 9, 2015. Plaintiff
filed this action on March 9, 2015, seeking judicial review
of the ALJ's decision. [Compl., ECF #1]. Both Plaintiff
and Defendant filed briefs, [ECF ## 11 & 12]. The
Magistrate Judge issued her Report and Recommendation
(“R&R”) on April 19, 2016, recommending that
the ALJ's decision be affirmed. [R&R, ECF #14].
Plaintiff filed timely objections to the R&R on May 9,
2016. [Plaintiff's Objections, ECF #25]. Defendant filed
a reply to Plaintiff's objections on May 20, 2016. [ECF
federal judiciary has a limited role in the administrative
scheme established by the Act, which provides the
Commissioner's findings “shall be conclusive”
if they are “supported by substantial evidence.”
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Substantial evidence has been
defined innumerable times as more than a scintilla, but less
than preponderance.” Thomas v. Celebrezze, 331
F.2d 541, 543 (4th Cir. 1964). Substantial evidence
“means such relevant ...