United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
A. TRAUGER UNITED STATES DISTRICT 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 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. 16), to which Defendant has
responded. Docket Entry No. 18.
review of the administrative record as a whole and
consideration of the parties' filings, Plaintiff's
motion (Docket Entry No. 16) is DENIED and
the decision of the Commissioner is
filed an application for DIB and SSI on October 3, 2012.
See Transcript of the Administrative Record (Docket
Entry No. 10) at 86-87. He alleged a disability onset date of
July 1, 1998. AR 86-87. Plaintiff asserted that he was unable
to work because of lower back pain, pain in his bilateral
wrists, and emphysema. AR 88.
applications were denied initially and upon reconsideration.
AR 86-87, 114-15. Pursuant to his request for a hearing
before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”),
Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified at a hearing
before ALJ Donna Lefebvre on January 28, 2015. AR 40. The ALJ
subsequently denied the claim on March 11, 2015. AR 22-24.
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review
of the ALJ's decision on January 8, 2016 (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. §
THE ALJ FINDINGS
issued an unfavorable decision on March 11, 2015, in which
she made the following enumerated findings:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2008.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 13, 2006, the alleged onset date.
(20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, lumbar degenerative disc
disease, incisional hernia and obesity (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, 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 perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant could lift
up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently.
With normal breaks in an eight-hour day, he could stand and
walk for up to six hours and sit for up to six hours. The
claimant could occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch,
crawl and climb ramps, stairs, ladders, or scaffolds.
Additionally, he could frequently finger objects with the
right upper extremity. The claimant can perform jobs that do
not require concentrated exposure to extreme heat or cold,
excessive vibration and pulmonary irritants.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).
7. The claimant was born on September 24, 1960 and was 45
years old, which is defined as a younger individual age
18-49, on the alleged disability onset date. The claimant
subsequently changed age category to closely approaching
advanced age (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).
8. The claimant has a limited 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 September 13, 2006, through
the date of this decision (20 ...