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Shoulders v. Berryhill

United States District Court, N.D. West Virginia, Elkins

March 22, 2018

SUSAN ANN SHOULDERS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          ORDER ADOPTING REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

          JOHN PRESTON BAILEY, UNITED-STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On this day, the above-styled matter came before this Court for consideration of the Report and Recommendation of United States Magistrate Judge Michael John Aloi [Doc. 15]. Pursuant to this Court's local rules, this action was referred to Magistrate Judge Aloi for submission of a proposed report and recommendation (“R&R”). Magistrate Judge Aloi filed his R&R on January 16, 2018, wherein he recommends that the plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment be granted, that the defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment be denied, and that the decision of the Commissioner be vacated and remanded for further proceedings. (Id.). On January 24, 2018, the defendant timely filed objections to the R&R [Doc. 17]. The plaintiff filed her response to objections on January 31, 2018 [Doc. 18]. For the reasons set forth below, this Court adopts Magistrate Judge Aloi's R&R.

         I. BACKGROUND

         On January 22, 2013, plaintiff filed an application for Supplemental Security Income, alleging disability beginning August 17, 2011 [Doc. 7-2 at 16]. The claim was initially denied on July 31, 2013 (Id.), and again upon reconsideration on November 13, 2013 (Id.). The plaintiff then filed a written request for hearing, and later appeared and testified at a hearing on June 17, 2015, in front of Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Karen B. Kostol. (Id. at 26). On July 2, 2015, the ALJ entered a decision finding that the plaintiff was not disabled under Section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act. (Id.).

         In accordance with the five-step evaluation process described in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 22, 2013, the application date (20 C.F.R. § 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: history of partial amputation of left 2nd toe and 3rd toe; chronic kidney disease secondary to residual post acute kidney injury with chronic trace lower extremity edema; obesity; major depressive disorder with psychotic features; and generalized anxiety disorder (20 C.F.R. § 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926).
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(c) that: requires no climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds and no more than occasionally climbing ramps or stairs or balancing; avoids concentrated exposure to any hazards such as dangerous moving machinery and unprotected heights; is limited to simple, routine, and repetitive tasks in a low stress job, defined as having only occasional decision making required, occasional changes in the work setting and no strict production quotas; and involves no more than occasional interaction with the general public, co-workers, and supervisors.
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. § 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on January 27, 1964, and was 48 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 C.F.R. § 416.963).
7. The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 C.F.R. § 416.964).
8. 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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
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 C.F.R. §§ 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since January 22, 2013, the date the application was ...

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