United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Northeastern Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Honorable Waverly D. Crenshaw, Chief District Judge
before the Court is Plaintiff's motion for judgment on
the administrative record. See Docket Entry
(“DE”) 14. Plaintiff brought 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”). At issue is
whether the administrative law judge (“ALJ”)
erred in finding that Plaintiff was “not disabled,
” and therefore not entitled to Supplement Security
Income (“SSI”). (See Administrative
Record, DE 10, at 16-18). This matter has been referred to the
undersigned, pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b), for initial
consideration and a report and recommendation. See
review of the administrative record and consideration of the
parties' filings, I find no error that would necessitate
remand in this case and therefore recommend that
Plaintiff's motion (DE 14) be DENIED.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
protectively filed an application for SSI on June 27, 2012
due to alleged liver damage, a “bad back, ”
depression, and anxiety, with an onset date of January 1,
2012. (Tr. 75-76). His application was denied initially and
on reconsideration. (Tr. 75, 77). Pursuant to his request for
a hearing before an ALJ, Plaintiff appeared with counsel and
testified at a hearing before ALJ Joan A. Lawrence on March
15, 2016. (Tr. 48). On April 21, 2016, the ALJ denied the
claim. (Tr. 16-18). On May 11, 2017, the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's
decision; therefore, the ALJ's decision stands as the
final determination of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3).
of the decision, the ALJ made the following enumerated
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 27, 2012,, the application date (20 CFR
416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following “severe”
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine;
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine; hepatitis B
and cirrhosis of the liver in a setting of a history of
polysubstance abuse, including I.V. drug use; and an
adjustment disorder with anxiety and depression related to
psychosocial stressors (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. 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 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. 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 416.967(b) except that he is limited to occasional
bending, stooping, climbing, and crawling; and he should
avoid respiratory irritants. He can deal with people and
change up to 1/3 of the day.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on August 17, 1966 and was 45 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual 18-49, on the
date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. 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 416.969 and
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since June 27, 2012, the date the
application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
appeal, Plaintiff submits three assertions of error: (1) that
the ALJ erred by failing to find that Plaintiff meets Listing
1.04; (2) that the ALJ improperly rejected the opinion of a
treating physician; and (3) that the ALJ improperly rejected
his “significant psychological restrictions.” DE
15 at 16-22. Plaintiff therefore requests that this case be
reversed and benefits awarded, or, alternatively, remanded
pursuant to sentence six of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for
further administrative proceedings. Id. at