United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
BARBARA D. HOLMES United States Magistrate Judge
filed this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
and 1383(c)(3) to obtain judicial review of the final
decision of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”), denying Plaintiff's claim
for a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”), as provided under Titles II and XVI of
the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The case is
currently pending on Plaintiff's motion for judgment on
the administrative record (Docket Entry No. 12), to which
Defendant has responded (Docket Entry No. 17). Plaintiff has
also filed a subsequent reply to Defendant's response
(Docket Entry No. 18). This action is before the undersigned
for all further proceedings pursuant to the consent of the
parties and referral of the District Judge in accordance with
28 U.S.C. § 636(c) (Docket Entry No. 23).
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's
motion is GRANTED. For the reasons stated
herein, the Court REVERSES the decision of
the Commissioner and REMANDS this case for
further administrative proceedings.
filed applications for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI
on June 4, 2009. See Transcript of the
Administrative Record (Docket Entry No. 10) at
49-50. She alleged a disability onset date of
June 17, 2005. AR 49-50. Plaintiff asserted that she was unable
to work because of mental impairments. AR 57.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
AR 49-52. Pursuant to her request for a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”), Plaintiff
appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing before ALJ
Scott Shimer on July 27, 2011. AR 32. On September 16, 2011,
the ALJ denied the claim. AR 9-11. On November 9, 2012, the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of
the ALJ's decision (AR 1-6), 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).
THE ALJ FINDINGS
issued an unfavorable decision on September 16, 2011. AR
9-11. Based upon the record, the ALJ made the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through March 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 9, 2009, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
Hypertension[;] Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease; Anxiety
Disorder; Depressive Disorder; Substance Abuse (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, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to lift and/or carry 50 pounds
occasionally and 25 pounds frequently, and perform other
functions and tasks consistent with medium work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c), except as follows: She is
limited to jobs that do not involve the climbing of ropes,
ladders or scaffolds, with no exposure to unprotected heights
or around hazardous moving machinery. From a mental
perspective, the claimant is further limited to work
involving simple, repetitive, routine tasks, with only
occasional contact with the general public, and only gradual
and infrequent workplace changes.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on August 23, 1950 and was 58 years
old, which is defined as an individual of advanced age, on
the amended alleged disability onset date. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to closely approaching
retirement age (20 CFR 404.1562 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 March 9, 2009 (the
amended alleged onset date), through the date of this
decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).
REVIEW OF THE RECORD
parties and the ALJ have thoroughly summarized and discussed
the medical and testimonial evidence of the administrative
record. Accordingly, the Court will discuss those matters
only to the extent necessary to analyze the parties'
DISCUSSION AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW