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Jeter v. Berryhill

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

October 10, 2018

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.



         Plaintiff Lorenzo Jeter (“Plaintiff”), brought this action pursuant to Section 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security Administration regarding his claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). This matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to Local Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., and Title 28, United States Code, Section 636(b)(1)(B). For the reasons set forth herein, the undersigned recommends reversing the decision of the Commissioner and remanding for further consideration.


         Plaintiff was 52 years old on his alleged disability onset date of July 3, 2013. (R. at 28, 37.) Plaintiff claims disability due to nerve damage and headaches as well as pain in his neck, back, knee, legs, ankles, and hands. (R. at 205.) Plaintiff has a limited education and has past relevant work as an order picker and a log chipper operator. (Dkt. No. 13 at 4; R. at 36-37.)

         Plaintiff filed an application for SSI on February 26, 2014, alleging a disability onset date of January 25, 2007. (R. at 28.) Because Plaintiff had previously applied for disability benefits, and that application was denied in a decision affirmed by the Appeals Council on July 2, 2013, the ALJ limited its period of review to begin on July 3, 2013. (R. at 28.) Plaintiff's February 26, 2014, application was denied initially and on reconsideration. (R. at 28.) After a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on April 19, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision on May 26, 2016, in which the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled. (R. at 28-39.) The Plaintiff filed an appeal to the Appeals Council, and submitted additional evidence for its consideration. (R. at 2.) The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, (R. at 1-4), 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 has adopted the following findings of the ALJ:

(1) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 26, 2014, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.)
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease, scoliosis, and arthralgias of the knee and hip (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, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except he could never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. He could occasionally climb ramps or stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. He could frequently reach overhead on the right side and he must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards.
(5) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on December 3, 1961 and was 52 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age (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 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 February 26, 2014, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).

(R. at 28-38.)

         APPLICABL ...

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