United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
A. TRAUGER United States District Judge
Cynthia Barger seeks judicial review, under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), of the final decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration ("SSA") denying her
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434.
2, 2017, the magistrate judge issued a Report and
Recommendation ("R&R") (Doc. No. 19),
recommending that the plaintiffs Motion for Judgment on the
Administrative Record (Doc. No. 13) be denied and that the
SSA's decision be affirmed. The plaintiff has filed
timely Objections (Doc. No. 20), to which the defendant has
responded (Doc. No. 21). For the reasons discussed herein,
the court will reject the R&R, grant the plaintiffs
Motion (Doc. No. 13), reverse the SSA's decision, and
remand the matter pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for further proceedings consistent with this
plaintiff filed her application for DIB on March 18, 2013,
claiming that she has been disabled since March 9, 2013.
(Administrative Record ("AR") 66-67,  Doc. No. 11.) Her
application alleges that she is disabled due to the residual
effects of a stroke in 2001, including limited use of her
right side, weakness in gripping and carrying with right
hand, and unsteadiness on her feet, as well as problems
rising from sitting, high blood pressure, and depression. (AR
denied the application initially and upon reconsideration.
(AR 66-77, 92-95, 78-91, 96-99.) The plaintiff requested and
received a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ"), which was conducted on January 7, 2015.
(AR 25-65, 104-05.) The plaintiff and a vocational expert
appeared and testified at the hearing.
issued a decision unfavorable to the plaintiff on April 9,
2015, finding that the plaintiff was not disabled within the
meaning of the Social Security Act and Regulations. (AR 9.)
The ALJ made the following specific findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since March 9, 2013, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571 et seq.). . . .
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
hypertension, degenerative joint disease of the left hip,
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, residual
effects from stroke in the hands, and adjustment disorder (20
CFR 404.1520(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 and 404.1526). . . .
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) except that she can lift and/or carry 30
pounds occasionally. She can stand and walk for at least 1
hour at a time and for at least 6 hours in an 8-hour workday.
The claimant can push, pull, and grasp objects with both
hands for at least 1 hour at a time and for at least 6 hours
in an 8-hour workday. The claimant requires the use of a cane
to ambulate. She can maintain concentration, pace, and
persistence for 2 hours at a time during an 8-hour workday. .
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as a Bookkeeper. This work does not require the performance
of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's
residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565). . . .
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from March 9, 2013, through the
date of ...