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Greene v. Astrue

August 3, 2010

EDMUND S. GREENE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows U.S. Magistrate Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Commissioner") denying his application for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act ("Act"). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment is DENIED, the Commissioner's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment is GRANTED, and the Clerk is directed to enter Judgment for the Commissioner.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born June 17, 1956, applied on March 9, 2005 for disability benefits. (Tr. at 67, 38.) Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to chronic neck pain. (Tr. at 32.)

In a decision dated November 9, 2007, ALJ William L. Stewart, Jr. determined plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ made the following findings:*fn1

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2011.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 31, 2004, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1520(b) and 404.1571 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: degenerative changes in the cervical spine; and hepatitis C with normal bilirubin and albumin (20 CFR 404.1520(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 and 404.1526).

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to frequently lift up to 10 pounds, and occasionally lift up to 20 pounds, but these weights would be less if held with his arms fully extended in front. He should avoid repetitive bending, twisting, pushing, pulling, and looking up. The claimant has difficulty reaching up more than rarely. He needs an opportunity to change position as needed for comfort. The claimant would have difficulty with repetitive neck motion side-to-side, especially if rapidly performed. The claimant should avoid jarring or jerking movements. He also has difficulty consistently performing ongoing intricate manipulation due to numbness in fingers.

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).

7. The claimant was born on June 17, 1956, and was 48 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).

8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).

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).

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) and 404.1566).

11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 31, 2004, through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g)).

(Tr. at ...


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