United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
THEODORE M. COX, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
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.
filed an application for DIB on July 27, 2010, alleging
inability to work since July 7, 2010. (Tr. 136-42, 210). His
claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
Thereafter, Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing. A
hearing was held on September 14, 2012, at which time the
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE) testified. (Tr.
37-60). The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued an
unfavorable decision on December 6, 2012, finding that
Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act.
(Tr.17-34). Although the Appeals Council denied review on
June 21, 2013, this Court reversed the Commissioner's
final decision and remanded for further administrative action
in an Order dated September 17, 2014. (Tr. 1-4, 716-42). On
remand, the ALJ again issued an unfavorable decision, dated
June 15, 2015. (Tr. 633-47). Plaintiff requested review of
the ALJ's hearing decision, but the Appeals Council
stated it “found no reason under [its] rules to assume
jurisdiction” in a letter dated November 9, 2015. (Tr.
625-28). This appeal followed on August 17, 2015.
was born on January 9, 1966, and was 49 years old at the time
of the alleged onset. (Tr. 103). Plaintiff completed his
education through high school and has past relevant work
experience as an electrician. (Tr. 41-42).
The ALJ's Decision
decision of June 15, 2015, 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 on December 31, 2014.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
July 7, 2010 through his date last insured of December 31,
2014 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: status post cervical surgeries
and left shoulder surgery, degenerative disc disease,
migraine headaches, sensorineural hearing loss, vertigo,
seizures, plantar fascial fibisromas, ulnar nerve entrapment,
and depression (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. Through the date last insured, 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, 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except the
claimant cannot climb, crawl, or balance. The claimant can
perform no more than frequent fingering with the non-dominant
arm and hand. The claimant cannot perform overhead reaching
with the non-dominant arm. The claimant can sit and stand at
will, exercised once each work hour for no more than 5
minutes without leaving the workstation. The claimant cannot
have exposure to industrial hazards. The claimant can perform
work in a low stress setting with no more than occasional
decision making or changes in the work setting, and no
interaction with the general public.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was unable to
perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on January 9, 1966, and was 48 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on
the date last insured (20 CFR 404.1563).
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, from July 7, 2010, the alleged onset
date, through December 31, 2014, the date last insured ...