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Watson v. Colvin

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Rock Hill Division

February 21, 2017

Billy Ray Watson, Plaintiff,
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.


          R. Bryan Harwell United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Billy Ray Watson (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42');">2 U.S.C. § 405(g), of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying Plaintiff's claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the “Act”). The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett, made in accordance with 2');">28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02');">2(B)(2');">2) for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge recommends the Court affirm the Commissioner's decision. [ECF #16');">16].

         Factual Findings and Procedural History

         Plaintiff Billy Ray Watson was born in 1970 and was forty-one years old on the date of his alleged onset of disability. [ECF #2');">2');">12');">2, p. 4]. Plaintiff has a high school education and past relevant work experience as an electrician, a truck driver, and a machine fixer. [ECF #2');">2');">12');">2, p. 4]. On June 8, 2');">202');">2');">12');">2, Plaintiff filed a claim for DIB and SSI benefits, alleging a disability onset date of April 1, 2');">202');">2');">12');">2. Plaintiff alleges he is disabled due to back pain. The Social Security Administration denied his application initially and on reconsideration, so Plaintiff requested a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). [ECF #2');">2');">12');">2, p. 4]. Following the hearing, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's claim on May 30, 2');">2014. finding that Plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, as amended. [ECF #11-2');">2, p. 2');">23]. The ALJ's findings were as follows:

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2');">2017 (Exhibit 4D/4).
(2');">2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 1, 2');">202');">2');">12');">2, the amended alleged onset date (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq., and 2');">20 C.F.R. 416');">16.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, status post laminectomy and microdiscectomy, with residual neuropathy (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.152');">20(c) and 2');">20 C.F.R. 416');">16.92');">20(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 2');">20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.152');">20(d), 404.152');">25, 404.152');">26, 416');">16.92');">20(d), 416');">16.92');">25 and 416');">16.92');">26).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) and 416');">16.967(a) except the claimant is limited to occasional use of foot controls on the right and unlimited on the left within the exertional limit. Additionally, the claimant requires the ability to stand or sit, or adjust positions at will consistent within the exertional limits. Moreover, the claimant requires a hand-held assistive device (such as a cane) over narrow, slippery, or erratically moving surfaces and for standing and walking in excess of twenty minutes. In addition, the claimant is limited to frequently climbing ramps or stairs, balancing, stooping, and kneeling, occasionally, crouching and crawling, and never climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. Furthermore, the claimant is limited to less-than-occasional, if any, hazards associated with dangerous machinery or unprotected heights, but is otherwise capable of being aware of normal hazards and taking appropriate precautions. Additionally, the claimant is limited to simple, routine, repetitive tasks, which must be performed in a low stress, predictable work environment with clearly defined performance expectations and less than occasional public contact. In addition, the claimant will be off task at will up to five perfect of the workday beyond normal breaks, an example of which would equate to no more than six minutes within a two-hour segment, while remaining at the workstation. Finally, claimant may miss up to, but no more than two workdays per month.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1565 and 416');">16.965).
(7) The claimant was born on November 13, 1970, and was 41 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1563 and 416');">16.963).
(8) The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1564 and 416');">16.964).
(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 claimant has transferrable job skills (See SSR 82');">2-41 and 2');">20 C.F.R. Part 4, Subpart P, Appendix 2');">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 claimant can perform (2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1569, ...

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