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Palmer v. Commissioner of Social Security

September 28, 2009

JOHN PALMER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Craig M. Kellison United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, who is proceeding with retained counsel, brings this action for judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to the written consent of all parties, this case is before the undersigned as the presiding judge for all purposes, including entry of final judgment. See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). Pending before the court are Plaintiff's motion for summary judgment (Doc. 14) and Defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 18).

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff*fn1 applied for social security benefits on March 3, 2005.*fn2 In the application, Plaintiff claims his disability is caused by a combination of mental disease (borderline personality disorder), hepatitis C, and asthma. In his motion for summary judgment, he claims his disability is the result of several other ailments, both mental and physical, including chronic Hepatitis C, obesity, antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, mood disorder, depression, substance abuse, lumbar spine degenerative disc disease, thoracic and lumbar spine disc narrowing, bilateral knee pain consistent with post-traumatic pain and degenerative joint disease, bronchial asthma, thoracic back pain, chronic back pain, knee pain, sciatica, arthritis, furunculosis of the right axillary area, acute diarrhea, and suspect colitis. (Pl. Mot. for Summ. J (doc. 14) at 4).

He claims his disability began on June 1, 1976.*fn3 Plaintiff's claim was initially denied on October 12, 2005. Following denial of reconsideration on February 3, 2006, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing. A hearing was held on March 8, 2007, before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Mark C. Ramsey. In a June 9, 2007, decision, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff is not disabled based on the following relevant findings:

1. The claimant's father met the fully insured status requirements of the Social Security Act.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 1, 2003, the recommended onset date (20 CFR 404.1520(b), 404.1571 et seq., 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: anti-social personality disorder, mood disorder and methamphetamine abuse (20 CFR 404.1502(c) and 416.920(c)).

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals 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 the mental demands of unskilled work that does not require frequent contact with the public or co-workers. The undersigned finds that the claimant does not have any exertional limitations.

6. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

7. The claimant was born on April 20, 1968 and was 35 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the recommended disability onset date (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 an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1568 and 416.968).

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 404.1560(c), 404.1566, 416.960(c), and 416.966).

11. The claimant has not been under a disability as defined in the Social Security Act, from December 1, 2003 through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

The Appeals Council granted Plaintiff's request for review on January 2, 2008, based on the ALJ's failure to adjudicate Plaintiff's application for child's insurance benefits. In a February 12, 2008, decision, the Appeals Council adopted the ALJ's finding or conclusions regarding whether Plaintiff was disabled. The Appeals Council also determined Plaintiff did not have a severe impairment prior to the age of 22, and is not entitled to the receipt of child's insurance benefits prior to age 22. The Appeals Council made the following findings:

1. The claimant is the child of the wage earner.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity.

3. The claimant was unmarried at the time the application was filed, is still unmarried, and ...


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