Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Beach v. Berryhill

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

May 2, 2019

Sheila Lorraine Beach, Plaintiff,
v.
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          REPORT OF MAGISTRATE JUDGE

          KEVIN F. McDONALD, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         This case is before the court for a report and recommendation pursuant to Local Civil 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, who is proceeding pro se, brought this action pursuant to Section 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.

         ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

         The plaintiff filed an application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) benefits on October 21, 2014, alleging disability since August 7, 2013. The application was denied initially and on reconsideration by the Social Security Administration. On September I, 2015, the plaintiff requested a hearing. The administrative law judge (“ALJ”), before whom the plaintiff and Carroll H. Crawford, an impartial vocational expert, appeared on April II, 2017, considered the case de novo, and on November 1, 2017, found that the plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, as amended. The ALJ informed the plaintiff of her right to representation and told her that he would grant postponement of the hearing if the plaintiff wished to obtain representation. However, the plaintiff chose to go forward with the hearing and testify without the assistance of an attorney or other representative (Tr. 32-34). The ALJ's finding became the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security when the Appeals Council denied the plaintiff's request for review on January 13, 2018. The plaintiff then filed this action for 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 October 21, 2014, the application date (20 C.F.R. § 416.971 et. seq.).
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairments: obesity; osteoarthritis/major joint dysfunction; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; and major depressive disorder (20 C.F.R. § 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(d), 416.925, 416.926).
(4) 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 C.F.R. § 416.967(b) except for the following limitations: no lifting, carrying, pushing, or pulling over 25 pounds occasionally and 20 pounds frequently; no sitting over six hours in and eight-hour workday; no standing over six hours in an eight-hour workday; no walking over six hours in an eight-hour workday; no more than frequent climbing of stairs or ramps; no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; no more than frequent balancing or stooping; no more than occasional kneeling, crouching, or crawling; no more than occasional work at unprotected heights or around moving mechanical parts; no more than occasional exposure to humidity or wetness; no more than occasional exposure to dust, odors, fumes, and pulmonary irritants; and only simple, routine tasks.
(5) The claimant has no past relevant work (20 C.F.R. § 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on October 7, 1972, and was 42 years old, which is defined as a younger individual, on the date the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.963).
(7) The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. § 416.964).
(8) Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 C.F.R. § 416.968).
(9) Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 C.F.R. § 416.969, 416.969(a)).
(10) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since October 21, 2014, the date the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.920(g)).

         The only issues before the court are whether proper legal standards were applied and whether the final decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence.

         APPLICABLE LAW

         Under 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A), (H)(i), as well as pursuant to the regulations formulated by the Commissioner, the plaintiff has the burden of proving disability, which is defined as an “inability to do any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a).

         To facilitate a uniform and efficient processing of disability claims, the Social Security Act has by regulation reduced the statutory definition of “disability” to a series of five sequential questions. An examiner must consider whether the claimant (1) is engaged in substantial gainful activity, (2) has a severe impairment, (3) has an impairment that meets or medically equals an impairment contained in the Listing of Impairments found at 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1, (4) can perform his past relevant work, and (5) can perform other work. Id. § 416.920. If an individual is found not disabled at any step, further inquiry is unnecessary. Id. § 416.920(a)(4).

         A claimant must make a prima facie case of disability by showing he is unable to return to his past relevant work because of his impairments. Grant v. Schweiker, 699 F.2d 189, 191 (4th Cir. 1983). Once an individual has established a prima facie case of disability, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to establish that the plaintiff can perform alternative work and that such work exists in the national economy. Id. (citing 42 U.S.C. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.