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Speights v. Berryhill

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

November 5, 2017

Huey Speights, Plaintiff,
v.
Nancy Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          MARY GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE

         This case is before the Court for a report and recommendation pursuant to Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., concerning the disposition of Social Security cases in this District, and Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1).

         The Plaintiff, Huey Speights, brought this action pursuant to Section 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”) regarding his claim for supplemental security income benefits (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, as amended (the “Act”). For the reasons stated herein, the undersigned recommends that the Commissioner's findings be reversed and remanded for a new hearing.

         RELEVANT FACTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

         The Plaintiff applied for SSI on August 9, 2012, alleging disability beginning May 6, 2010, due to neck and back problems, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. (R.175, 204.) His application was denied initially and on reconsideration. After a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on November 12, 2014, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on February 9, 2015. (R. at 50-58.) The Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's request for review, (R. at 1-6), making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review.

         In making the determination that the Plaintiff is not entitled to benefits, the Commissioner adopted the following findings of the ALJ:

(1) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 8, 2012, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairment: degenerative disc disease status-post cervical spine surgery(20 CFR 416.920(c)).
(3) 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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(4) After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except no climbing of ladders, ropes, and scaffolds, occasional kneeling, crouching, and crawling, and no reaching overhead with the bilateral upper extremities. He is further limited to work with simple routine repetitive tasks.
(5) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on July 23, 1966 and was 46 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
(7) The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
(8) 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).
(9) 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 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
(10) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since August 8, 2012, the date the ...

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