United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
E. ROGERS, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
an action brought pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social
Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. Section 405(g), to obtain
judicial review of a “final decision” of the
Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's
claim for disability insurance benefits (DIB). The only
issues before the Court are whether the findings of fact are
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards have been applied. A telephone conference was held
on September 22, 2016.
filed an application for DIB on February 26, 2008, alleging
inability to work since May 20, 2007. His claims were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. Thereafter, Plaintiff
filed a request for a hearing. A hearing was held on
September 3, 2009, at which time the Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified. The Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) issued a partially-favorable decision on November
19, 2009, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled prior to
September 21, 2009. (Tr.18-23). Plaintiff filed a request for
review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals Council
denied on June 24, 2011, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-4). Plaintiff filed
an action in this court on August 18, 2011. The court
reversed the Commissioner's decision and remanded the
case in an order dated February 22, 2013. See Cercoply v.
Commissioner of Social Security, No. 4:11-cv-2186-TER
(D.S.C. Feb. 22, 2013). On April 15, 2013, the Appeals
Council affirmed the decision that Plaintiff is disabled
commencing September 21, 2009, and remanded to the ALJ for
“further proceedings consistent with the order of the
court.” (Tr. 463). The ALJ held a second hearing on
November 21, 2013, and issued a written decision on March 19,
2014, finding Plaintiff was not disabled for the period of
May 20, 2007, through September 20, 2009. (Tr. 402-409). The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
(Tr. 384-386, 390-394). This appeal followed.
Plaintiff's Background and Medical History
was born on September 21, 1954, and was 52 years old at the
time of the alleged onset. (Tr. 131, 418). Plaintiff
completed his education through high school and has past
relevant work experience as a manager, subcontractor,
construction superintendent, and carpenter. (Tr. 222, 418).
Plaintiff alleges disability due to blindness in his right
eye, additional visual problems and depression. (Tr. 129-134,
Administrative Process and the ALJ's Decision
decision of March 19, 2014, the ALJ made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law:
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of May
20, 2007, through September 20, 2009 (20 CFR 404.1571 et
3. During the relevant period, the claimant had the following
severe impairments: retinal detachment of the right eye and
proliferative vitreoretinopathy (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. During the relevant period, the claimant did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled 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).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that during the relevant period, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined
in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that the claimant was precluded
from jobs requiring climbing ropes and ladders and he must
avoid moving machinery. He is unable to perform jobs
requiring depth perception or use of vision of the right
side, is limited to occasional near visual acuity and no
working with crowds of people.
6. During the relevant period, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on September 21, 1954, and was 52
years old, which is defined as an individual closely
approaching advanced age, on the alleged date (20 CFR
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. Through the date last insured, considering the
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there were jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could have performed (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a)).
11. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in
the Social Security Act, at any time from May 20, 2007, the
alleged onset date through ...