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Jones v. Berryhill

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

January 31, 2018

Sheila Jones, Plaintiff,
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.



         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)(B).[1]

         The Plaintiff, Sheila Jones, brought this action 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 Administration regarding her claim for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act. For the reasons set forth herein, the undersigned recommends the Commissioner's decision be reversed, and the matter remanded to the Commissioner for further proceedings.


         Plaintiff was 50 years old on her amended alleged disability onset date of May 7, 2014. (R. at 11, 23.)[2] She alleged disability due to, inter alia, depression, rheumatoid arthritis, emphysema, and carpal tunnel syndrome. (R. at 13, 117.) Plaintiff graduated from high school and has a certificate from a technical school; her past relevant work is as a certified nursing assistant. (R. at 22-23, 38.)

         Plaintiff protectively filed an application for DIB and SSI on January 30, 2013. (R. at 11.) Her applications were denied initially and on reconsideration. (R. at 11.) After a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on June 2, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision on August 13, 2015, in which the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. (R. at 11-24.)

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

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2014.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 7, 2014, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: arthritis of the bilateral ankles, wrists, and hands; bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome; rheumatoid arthritis; major depressive episode; anxiety-related disorder with features of posttraumatic stress disorder (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(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 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(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 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that the claimant can occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; frequently climb ramps and stairs; and occasionally stoop but can never crouch, kneel, or crawl. The claimant can frequently handle and finger with bilateral upper extremities; use moving machinery; and have exposure to unprotected heights. The claimant is limited to one-or-two-step tasks with only occasional interaction with the public.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on May 7, 1964 and was 50 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
(8) The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 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 transferrable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 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 (20 CFR 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969, 416.969(a)).
(11) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May 7, 2014, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(R. at 13-24.)

         APPLICABL ...

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