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Johnson v. Berryhill

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

June 26, 2019

NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.



         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 Cynthia Johnson (“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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title 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.


         Plaintiff was 43 years old on her alleged disability onset date of May 14, 2008. (R. at 91, 186; Dkt. No. 13 at 5.) Plaintiff alleged disability due to, inter alia, anxiety; nerves; arthritis in back/left leg; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”); depression; diabetes; degenerative disc disease; and coronary artery disease (“CAD”). (R. at 91, 206.) Plaintiff has no past relevant work. (Id. at 28, 206.)

         Plaintiff filed an application for SSI on July 14, 2014.[1] (Id. at 186.) Her application was denied initially on September 25, 2014, and on reconsideration on December 4, 2014. (Id. at 103, 119.) After a hearing before the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) on October 3, 2016, (id. at 36-81), the ALJ issued a decision on January 11, 2017, in which the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled (id. at 17-29). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, (id. at 1- 4), 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 has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 14, 2014, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairments: coronary artery disease (CAD), constructive obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), lumbar degenerative disc disease, arthritis of the lower extremities, affective disorder, and anxiety (20 CFR 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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(4) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except the claimant may sit, stand, or walk for six hours of an eight-hour day. She may change positions once an hour at her workstation. She may not climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds. She may occasionally perform all other postural activities. She may frequently perform fine manipulations and she should avoid exposure to heat, cold, humidity, fumes, dust, and odors, along with other work place hazards. She may perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks and have occasional interaction with the general public.
(5) The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
(6) The claimant was born on January 13, 1965 and was 49 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. The claimant subsequently changed age category to closely approaching advanced age (20 CFR 416.963).
(7) The claimant has at least a high school 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 work (20 CFR 416.968).
(9) Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant No. in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
(10) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since July 14, 2014, the date the ...

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