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Bragdon v. Astrue

March 31, 2010

VINCENT BRAGDON, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants defendant's motion and denies plaintiff's motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff formally applied for SSI on December 19, 2005, alleging that he became disabled on April 5, 2004. Administrative Record ("AR") 7. Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon reconsideration, and plaintiff requested an administrative hearing. AR 27, 28, 45. On February 7, 2008, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Stanley R. Hogg. AR 18-46. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, and testified at the hearing. Id.

The ALJ issued a decision on April 14, 2008, finding that plaintiff was not disabled.*fn1 AR 7-17. The ALJ made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 19, 2005, the application date (20 CFR 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

***

2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: Seizure disorder, depressive mood disorder, borderline intellectual functioning, and obesity (20 CFR 416.920(c)).

***

3. 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 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 a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following non-exertional limitations: he is capable of performing simple unskilled work while adhering to seizure precautions.

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5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).

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6. The claimant was born on August 10, 1958 and was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the date the SSI 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 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).

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 416.960(c) and 416.966).

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10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since December 19, 2006, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).

AR 7-17.

Plaintiff filed a Request for Review of Hearing Decision/Order with the Appeals Council on April 14, 2008, and the Appeals Council subsequently denied plaintiff's request for review in a Notice and Order of Appeals Council Action dated September 25, 2008. AR 1-3.

II. SUMMARY OF TESTIMONY

Plaintiff testified at the hearing before ALJ Hogg that he started having seizures in April 2004, and that he has numbness in his left side, which occurs at least 20-30 times per day and makes it difficult to stand, walk or grasp any object. Id. at 33. Plaintiff also testified that during the numbness, his mind gets "delusional" and he "can't function." Id. He testified that he takes Dilantin to prevent a ...


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