United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF MAGISTRATE
GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE
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).
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.
FACTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS
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.
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
(10) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since August 8, 2012, the date