United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
25, 2017 plaintiff filed a complaint seeking judicial review
of an adverse final decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (“the
Commissioner”) pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
(Doc. 1). Defendant filed an answer on October 15, 2018 (Doc.
8). On November 30, 2018 plaintiff filed a brief in support
of disability and a motion to remand (Docs. 11 & 13). The
case was stayed on December 27, 2018 due a lapse of
government appropriations (Doc. 16). On January 28, 2019 the
Commissioner filed a Memorandum in Support of
Commissioner's Decision and response to plaintiff's
motion to remand (Docs. 18 & 19). Therefore, this matter
is ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, the final
decision of the Commissioner reversed and remanded.
11, 2015 plaintiff filed application for benefits under Title
XVI for supplemental security income (SSI) under the Social
Security Act alleging March 1, 2015, as his onset of
disability. On April 25, 2017 the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”), Bruce W. MacKenzie, conducted a video
hearing. The ALJ presided in Birmingham, Alabama and the
plaintiff appeared in Gadsden, Alabama. (Tr. 26-38).
Plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) were present at the hearing.
(Id.) On October 3, 2017 the ALJ issued his
decision. (Id.) In doing so, the ALJ engaged in the
five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the
Commissioner to determine whether an individual is disabled.
(Id.) The ALJ made the following findings:
1. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity
during the following periods: July 2016 through September
2016 (20 CFR 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.)
(Id. at 28).
2. However, there has been a continuous 12-month period
during which the claimant did not engage in substantial
gainful activity. The remaining findings address the
period(s) the claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity. (Id. at 29).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: status
post non-ST elevation myocardial infarction; coronary artery
disease; hypertension; history of mild degenerative joint
disease of the right shoulder; and, borderline intellectual
functioning (20 CFR 416.920(c)). (Id.)
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 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has had the residual
functional capacity, generally, to perform light exertional
work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b). The undersigned further
finds, however, that the full range of light work that could
be performed by the claimant is reduced by the following
functional limitations: the claimant could frequently use
right dominant hand controls. He can frequently reach
overhead with the right dominant hand as well as frequently
reach in all other directions with the right dominant hand.
He can frequently climb ramps and stairs, but never climb
ladders or scaffolds. He can frequently balance, stoop,
crouch, kneel and crawl. He would be limited to hearing and
understanding simple oral instructions and communicating
simple information and he would be unable to provide written
reports or analyze written materials. He is unable to make
simple arithmetic calculations including transactions
involving currency. The claimant should never be exposed to
unprotected heights, dangerous machinery, dangerous tools,
hazardous processes or operate commercial motor vehicles. The
undersigned further finds that the claimant would be limited
to simple tasks and simple work-related decisions. He would
be unable to perform at production rate pace, but could do
goal oriented work. In addition to normal workday breaks, he
would be off-task 5% of an 8-hour workday (non-consecutive
minutes). (Id. at 33).
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
(20 CFR 416.965). (Id. at 36).
7. The claimant was born on April 17, 1967 and was 48 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964). (Id.).
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). (Id.)
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 ...