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Allen v. Berryhill

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

January 30, 2019

MISTI NICOLE ALLEN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MARY GORDON BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         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). Plaintiff Misti Nicole Allen (“Plaintiff”) brought this action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act, as amended, (42 U.S.C. § 405(g)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security Administration (the “Administration”) regarding her claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act (the “Act”). For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends that this matter be remanded for further consideration and analysis by the Commissioner.

         RELEVANT FACTS AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

         Plaintiff was 42 years old on her alleged disability onset date of March 23, 2015. (R. at 17, 240, 244.) Plaintiff alleged disability due to chronic back pain; difficulty moving; stiffness; numbness in right knee; fibromyalgia; arthritis in right hand; interstitial cystitis; post traumatic stress disorder; depression; anxiety; panic attacks; and insomnia. (Id. at 68.) Plaintiff has past relevant work as a billing clerk and an internal customer service/help desk representative. (Id. at 25, 53.)

         Plaintiff filed an application for DIB and SSI on October 9, 2015. (Id. at 240, 244; Dkt. No. 16 at 2.) Her application was denied initially on January 5, 2016, and on reconsideration on March 4, 2016. (R. at 154-55, 162-63.) After a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on December 9, 2016, (id. at 34-56), the ALJ issued a decision on February 23, 2017, in which the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled (id. at 17-27). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, (id. at 1-3), making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review.

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

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 23, 2015, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, gastroesophageal reflux disease, hypertension, depression, and anxiety (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 sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) [sic] I specifically find that the claimant can lift and carry 10 pounds occasionally and 5 pounds frequently, and she can sit for six hours of an eight hour work day and stand or walk for two hours in an eight hour day. I also find the claimant can never climb ladders, ropes, scaffolds, she can occasionally climb ramps, stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. I further find the claimant needs to avoid concentrated exposure to workplace hazards such as unprotected heights and moving machinery and vibration, and she can perform simple, routine tasks for two-hour blocks of time with normal rest breaks during an eight hour work day. She can have occasional interaction with the general 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 March 31, 1972 and was 42 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, 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 ...

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