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Dowell v. Berryhill

United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division

September 18, 2017

Richard Dowell, Plaintiff,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.


          R. Bryan Harwell, United States District Judge

         Plaintiff Richard Dowell (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review, pursuant to 42');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2 U.S.C. § 405(g), of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying his claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”).[1] The matter is before the Court for review of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker, made in accordance with 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2(B)(2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2) for the District of South Carolina. The Magistrate Judge recommends affirming the Commissioner's decision. [ECF #14].

         Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed this current application for DIB and SSI benefits on October 10, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2012');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, alleging an amended onset date of November 14, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2011. Briefly stated, Plaintiff alleges he is disabled due to a partial amputation of his left foot, back problems, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, neck problems, knee and hip pain resulting from his amputation, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (“COPD”). Plaintiff's application for benefits was denied initially and upon review. Following a hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (the “ALJ”) denied his claim on February 5, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2015. [ECF #9-2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2, p. 8]. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's findings the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.

         The ALJ's findings were as follows:

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2014.
(2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November 14, 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2011, the amended onset date (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: status post amputation of the 1st and 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2nd rays of the left foot with some distal medial tarsal bones and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404.152');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20(c) and 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">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');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404.152');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20(d), 404.152');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">25, 404.152');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">26, 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20(d), 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">25 and 416.92');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">26).
(5) After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) that is further limited by frequently climbing ramps and stairs, balancing, and stooping, but he can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, kneel, crouch or crawl. The claimant should avoid concentrated exposure to hazardous machinery and unprotected heights.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on March 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">27, 1965 and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the amended alleged disability onset date (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 404. 1563 and 416.963).
(8) The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. 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');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2-41 and 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">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 the claimant can perform (2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2');">2'); ...

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