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Hill v. Berryhill

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

June 14, 2019

Lisa Rowena Hill, 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 Civ. 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 brought this action pursuant to Sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. 405(g) and 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claims for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act.

         ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS

         The plaintiff filed an application for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”) on August 12, 2014, and an application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) on December 4, 2014 (Tr. 232, 1063) . In both applications, the plaintiff alleged that she became unable to work on June 21, 2014. The applications were denied initially and on reconsideration by the Social Security Administration. On May 13, 2015, the plaintiff requested a hearing. The administrative law judge (“ALJ”), before whom the plaintiff Robert E. Brabham, Jr., an impartial vocational expert, appeared on March 10, 2017, considered the case de novo, and on May 3, 2017, found that the plaintiff was not under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, as amended (Tr. 129-39). 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 March 16, 2018 (Tr. 1-4). 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 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 June 21, 2014, the alleged onset date (20 C.F.R §§ 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairments: lumbar and cervical degenerative disc disease, status-post cervical fusion; degenerative joint disease involving bilateral knees; dysfunction left shoulder joint; obesity (20 C.F.R. §§ 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 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 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except never balancing, kneeling, or crawling and occasional climbing ramps/stairs, stooping, or crouching and no overhead reaching with bilateral upper extremities.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on December 29, 1969, and was 44 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to a younger individual age 45-49 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1563 and 416.963).
(8) The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1564 and 416.964).
(9) Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
(10) 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 C.F.R. §§ 404.1569, 404.1569(a), 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
(11) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from June 21, 2014, through the date of this decision (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

         The only issues before the court are whether proper legal standards were applied and whether the final decision of the ...


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