United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Charleston Division
BRYAN HARWELL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Rhonda Corine Burton has brought this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her
claim for supplemental security income (“SSI”).
This matter is now before the Court for review of the Report
and Recommendation (“R & R”) of United States
Magistrate Judge Mary Gordon Baker, made in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rules
73.02(B)(2)(a) and 83.VII.02 (D.S.C.). [ECF # 23]. The
Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court remand the matter
back to the Commissioner for further proceedings. This Court
has thoroughly reviewed the record in this case and now
issues the following Order.
of Facts and Procedural History
was born on October 26, 1971 and was twenty-seven years old
on the date of the alleged onset of disability. Plaintiff
initially applied for supplemental security income
(“SSI”) on October 24, 2013, alleging a
disability date of January 1, 1998. She alleges she became
disabled due to obesity, gastroparesis, status post fusion of
the lumbar spine, anxiety, panic disorder, and major
depressive disorder, among other ailments. [ECF #14].
Throughout the course of the time period covered in this
action, Dr. Leah Trantham of Goose Creek Family Practice has
been Plaintiff's primary physician. Plaintiff's
medical history is extensively documented in the record.
Briefly stated, Plaintiff suffers from depression, anxiety,
obesity and nausea that she has been treated for since 2012.
[ECF #9-9, Ex. 5F]. In April of 2013, Plaintiff began
receiving treatment for abdominal pain. Testing in July of
2013 revealed esophagitis, gastroparesis, and a small hiatal
hernia. [ECF #9-7, Ex. 2F]. Plaintiff's issues with
gastroparesis continued after this time. In August of 2013,
Plaintiff was also diagnosed with diabetes. On October 7,
2013, after Plaintiff was sent for issues related to nausea,
she was diagnosed with diabetic gastroparesis, getting
progressively worse. [ECF #9-8, Ex 4F]. In addition to the
persistence of these problems, her mental health issues
continued. Dr. Trantham noted in one record that
Plaintiff's low back pain issue were currently on the
backburner due to her other issues. Dr. Trantham felt
strongly that Plaintiff needed a psychiatric evaluation. [ECF
#9-9, Ex. 5F]. Devin Black, B.S. provided treatment to
Plaintiff in November of 2014, noting that Plaintiff had
major depressive disorder, panic disorder and generalized
anxiety disorder. [ECF #9-10, Ex. 15F]. Plaintiff continued
treatment for these conditions, as well as for other
conditions, during the course of the next few years.
obtaining an unfavorable decision from the Administrative Law
Judge on May 26, 2016, Plaintiff requested a review from the
Appeals Council, but this request was denied, making the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
[ECF #17');">17, p. 2].
ALJ's findings were as follows:
(1) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since October 24, 2013, the application date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairments:
obesity, gastroparesis, status post fusion of the lumbar
spine, anxiety, panic disorder, and major depressive disorder
(20 C.F.R. 404.920(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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. 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 sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(a) except
she can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The
claimant can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, stoop,
kneel, crouch, and crawl. She can have no exposure to
unprotected heights. The claimant must avoid concentrated
exposure to dusts, odors, fumes, pulmonary irritants, extreme
cold, and extreme heat. She is limited to the performance of
simple, routine tasks. The claimant can interact and respond
appropriately to supervisors, coworkers, and the public on an
occasional basis. The claimant's use of judgment and
ability to deal with changes in the work setting are limited
to simple, work-related decisions. In addition to normal
breaks, the claimant is expected to be off task up to 10
percent of the time in an 8-hour workday. She requires a
sit/stand option defined as a brief postural change at or
near the work station up to a maximum duration of 5 minutes
twice in one hour.
(5) The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on October 26, 1971, and was 41
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-44, on the date the application was filed. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age
45-49 (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 an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant ...