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Sims v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division

October 26, 2016

SHARRON D. SIMS
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge.

         Plaintiff filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) that denied Plaintiff's claim for a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), as provided by the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is currently pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the pleadings (Docket Entry No. 12), to which Defendant has filed a response (Docket Entry No. 14).

         Upon review of the administrative record as a whole and consideration of the parties' filings, the Court recommends that Plaintiff's motion for judgment on the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12) be GRANTED, the decision of the Commissioner be reversed, and this matter be remanded for further administrative proceedings consistent with this Report.

         I. INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff protectively filed for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI on November 17, 2010. See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10), [1] at 16, 71-72. She alleged a disability onset date of June 30, 2009, although she later amended this date to November 1, 2010. AR 16, 18, 71-72. Plaintiff asserted that she was unable to work because of type II diabetes, fainting spells, bipolar disorder, depression, and post traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”).[2] AR 79-80.

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration. AR 71-74. After submitting a request for a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ Elizabeth P. Neuhoff on July 19, 2012. AR 41. On August 3, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision unfavorable to Plaintiff. AR 13-15. On October 18, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision (AR 1-3), thereby making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. This civil action was thereafter timely filed, and the Court has jurisdiction. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

         II. THE ALJ FINDINGS

         The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on August 3, 2012. AR 13-15. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following enumerated findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2014.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since November1, 2010, the amended alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus; gastritis; syncope; and mild right acromioclavicular joint osteoarthritis (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
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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).
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5. 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 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant could lift and/or carry 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; sit, stand, or walk 6 hours total each; no overhead work with the right upper extremity; and no work around hazards. The claimant is able to perform unskilled work consisting of simple tasks and instructions; occasional contact with public; work-only related contact with co-workers and supervisors; and occasional change in the workplace.
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6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
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7. The claimant was born on August 20, 1968 and was 42 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the amended alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has a marginal (6th grade) 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 regional and national economy that the claimant can perform (20 ...

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