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McGill v. Saul

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

July 23, 2019

SANFORD MCGILL, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          MARY GORDON BAKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Sanford McGill seeks judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security Administration's final decision denying his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income under the Social Security Act. This matter was referred to the Magistrate Judge for a Report and Recommendation under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a) (D.S.C.). For the following reasons, the undersigned recommends reversing and remanding for further consideration.

         BACKGROUND

         This case arises out of McGill's second unsuccessful disability claim. His first claim was denied in January 2015, when he was found to be not disabled. (R. 78-99.) Two months later, he filed the claim at issue here. He alleged disabling conditions including a pinched nerve, a right knee impairment, and a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder. (R. 255-67, 288.)

         His application was denied, so he asked for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (R. 151-67.) The ALJ held a hearing, in which McGill and a vocational expert testified. (R. 33-77.) The ALJ then issued a decision that McGill was not entitled to benefits. (R. 15-26.) The ALJ found that, although McGill had impairments restricting him to a reduced range of light work, he was not disabled because he could perform three other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. (R. 20-26.)

         McGill asked the Appeals Council to review the ALJ's decision. (R. 253-54.) The Appeals Council denied his request, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review. (R. 1-6.) By denying the request, the Commissioner (through the Appeals Council) adopted the following findings from the ALJ:

(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through June 30, 2015.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 23, 2012, 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 (DDD); mallet toe, post-surgery on the left, with osteoarthritis; osteoarthritis (OA) of the bilateral knees; and depression (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 light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c) except that he could lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. He could sit for six hours, stand for six hours, and walk for six hours. He could push and pull as much as he could lift/carry, except he could operate foot controls with his bilateral feet frequently. As for postural maneuvers, he could climb ramps and stairs frequently and climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds occasionally. Additionally, he could balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl occasionally. He could frequently work around unprotected heights and moving mechanical parts. He is capable of ambulating with the use of an assistive device. Lastly, regarding mental capacity, he could sustain concentration, persistence and pace sufficient to perform simple, routine tasks.
(6) The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
(7) The claimant was born on December 7, 1979 and was 32 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, 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 CFR 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 CFR 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 CFR 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 July 23, 2012, through the date of this decision ...

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