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Santiago v. Astrue

September 7, 2010

GENESIS SANTIAGO, 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 applications for Disability Income Benefits ("DIB") under Title II and XVI of the Social Security Act. For the reasons discussed below, the court remands the case for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff filed an application for DIB in August 2002, alleging disability since September 29, 2001. Administrative Record ("AR") 97. A hearing was held on June 12, 2003 before Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") James N. Baker. In a decision dated September 25, 2003, the ALJ determined plaintiff was not disabled.*fn1 The Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. On appeal, the district court remanded the case for further proceedings. Id. at 590-602. After a supplemental hearing, ALJ Howard K. Treblin issued a decision in which he found that plaintiff was not disabled. Id. at 518-28.

ALJ Treblin made the following specific findings:

1. The claimant met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through March 31, 2007.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 29, 2001, the alleged 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: status post right knee surgery, arthritis of the right knee, and disseminated coccidioidomycosis (cocci) (20 CFR 404.1520(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 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 exertional and non-exertional requirements of work,*fn2 except: he can lift and carry up to twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently; he can stand/ walk two hours in an eight-hour workday; he can sit six to eight hours in an eight-hour workday; he cannot push or pull with the right leg; he cannot climb, kneel, crouch or crawl; he must be able to use a cane in the right hand; he is able to stoop and balance; he should avoid vibrations; he should avoid unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery.

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565 and 416.965).

7. The claimant was born on November 3, 1961 and is 39 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-44, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563 and 416.963).

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 ...


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