United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Nashville Division
Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Jr. Judge.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
King, Magistrate Judge.
filed a Complaint seeking judicial review, pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), of the final decision of the
Commissioner denying his claim for Social Security disability
benefits. Docket 1. The Commissioner filed an electronic copy
of the administrative record. Docket 12. Plaintiff filed his
Motion for Judgment on the Record, along with a supporting
Memorandum of Law. Dockets 15 and 16. The Commissioner
responded in opposition to Plaintiff's motion. Docket 17.
The matter is ripe for determination.
December 6, 2017, the Court referred the matter to the
undersigned Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§§ 631 and 636 and Administrative Order No. 24.
Section 631 authorizes designation of magistrate judges to
serve in districts adjoining the district for which they were
appointed. 28 U.S.C. § 631. Administrative Order No. 24
was entered on June 12, 2017, and signed by the Chief Judges
for the Middle District of Tennessee and the Western District
of Kentucky. Section 636 authorizes magistrate judges to
submit reports and recommendations to district judges on any
case- dispositive matter. 28 U.S.C. § 636.
Court finds the administrative law judge's (ALJ's)
decision was supported by substantial evidence and was in
accord with applicable legal standards; therefore, the
RECOMMENDATION will be that the Court DENY Plaintiff's
Motion for Judgment on the Record (Docket 15); AFFIRM the
Commissioner's final decision; and DISMISS
February 2, 2014, Plaintiff filed applications for disability
insurance benefits (DIB) pursuant to Title II of the Social
Security Act and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits
pursuant to Title XVI alleging disability beginning on
September 4, 2012, when he stopped working. In May 2016, the
ALJ issued a partially-favorable decision, finding that
Plaintiff became disabled on March 8, 2013, when he was
hospitalized for congestive heart failure. ALJ's
decision, Administrative Record (AR), Docket 12, pp. 20-30.
The ALJ determined that Plaintiff is entitled to DIB because
he remained insured for DIB through the date of her decision.
AR, p. 22. The ALJ informed Plaintiff that another branch of
the Administration would advise him as to whether he
satisfies the non-disability requirements for receipt of SSI
benefits. AR, p. 30.
found that, as of March 8, 2013, Plaintiff was restricted to
sedentary work and, therefore, disabled at the fifth and
final step of the sequential evaluation process based on a
direct application of Rule 201.14 of the Appendix 2 of the
regulations. AR, p. 30.
found that, prior to March 8, 2013, Plaintiff was not
disabled at the second step of the evaluation process.
Specifically, the ALJ found that, although Plaintiff suffered
from a medically- determinable impairment consisting of a
“remote history of lumbar degenerative disc disease
with radiculopathy, ” the impairment was not
“severe, ” or vocationally significant, and did
not satisfy the 12- month durational
requirement. AR, p. 23.
challenge to the ALJ's decision
position is that the ALJ erred in finding him disabled as of
March 8, 2013, rather than accepting his alleged onset of
disability date of September 4, 2012. He offers the following
specific arguments in support of his position:
1. The ALJ erred as a matter of law when she found that
Plaintiff had no “severe” impairments prior to
his disability onset date of March 8, 2013. Given the chronic
nature of several of Plaintiff's medical impairments, the
ALJ should have consulted a medical expert to address whether
an earlier onset date was appropriate.
2. The ALJ's reliance on Plaintiff's receipt of
unemployment benefits as a basis to find that he was not
“disabled” prior to March 8, 2013 was
3. The ALJ neglected to consider Plaintiff's stellar work
history in her credibility assessment.
(Docket 16, p. 4).
evidence supported the ALJ's finding that Plaintiff had
no “severe” impairment satisfying
the durational requirement prior to March 8,
indicated above, the ALJ found that, prior to March 8, 2013,
Plaintiff suffered from no medically-determinable impairment
that was “severe” and ...