United States District Court, D. South Carolina, Florence Division
CAROL A. MCCOLLUM, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security; Defendant.
E. Rogers, III United States Magistrate Judge.
an action brought 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, denying Plaintiff's
claim for disability insurance benefits (DIB). The only
issues before the Court are whether the findings of fact are
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards have been applied. This action is proceeding before
the undersigned by voluntary consent pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c) and Fed. R. Civ. Proc. R. 73.
filed an application for DIB on April 28, 2014, alleging
inability to work since January 1, 2014. (Tr. 46). Her claims
were denied initially and upon reconsideration. Thereafter,
Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing. A hearing was held
on November 15, 2016, at which time Plaintiff and a
vocational expert (VE) testified. The Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) issued an unfavorable decision on February 23,
2017, finding that Plaintiff was not disabled within the
meaning of the Act. (Tr. 46-52). Plaintiff filed a request
for review of the ALJ's decision, which the Appeals
Council denied on June 15, 2017, making the ALJ's
decision the Commissioner's final decision. Plaintiff
filed this action on August 9, 2017. (ECF No. 1).
Plaintiff's Background and Medical History
was born on April 1, 1957, and was fifty-six years old at the
time of the alleged onset. (Tr. 81). Plaintiff had past
relevant work experience as a policy holder clerk. (Tr. 20).
Plaintiff alleges disability originally due to tendinitis,
carpal tunnel, diabetes, high blood pressure, migraines,
pinched nerve in neck, both knees, shoulder problem, reflux,
Dupuytren's, and problems in both feet. (Tr. 81). Only
records pertinent to the issue upon which the
undersigned's remand is based will be summarized under
the appropriate issue heading.
The ALJ's Decision
decision of February 23, 2017, the ALJ made the following
findings of fact and conclusions of law (Tr. 46-52):
1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her alleged onset date of
January 1, 2014, through her date last insured of December
31, 2016 (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the
following severe impairments: carpal tunnel syndrome and
diabetes mellitus with diabetic neuropathy. (20 CFR
4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR
404.1520(11), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined
in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). Specifically, the claimant was able to
lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently and stand, walk, and sit for 6 hours in an 8- hour
day except that the claimant can frequently climb ramps and
stairs but can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She
can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl, and can
perform frequent handling with her dominant upper extremity.
She can have occasional exposure to hazards.
6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of
performing past relevant work as a machine operator. This
work did not require the performance of work-related
activities precluded by the claimant's residual
functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the
Social Security Act, at any time from January 1, 2014, the
alleged onset date, through December 31, 2016, the date last
insured (20 CFR 404.1520(1)).