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Keith Smith v. Michael J. Astrue

December 21, 2011

KEITH SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Gregory G. Hollows United States Magistrate Judge

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 ("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 November 27, 1959, applied on November 2, 2007 for Supplemental Security Income disability benefits, with a protective filing date of October 18, 2007. (Tr. at 107, 126.) Plaintiff alleged he was unable to work due to hypertension, obesity, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, migraines, osteoarthritis of the shoulders, hepatitis C, degenerative joint disease of the knees/left foot, and bilateral cataracts. (Tr. at 40-41, 46-48, 48,120, 313.) In a decision dated January 13, 2010, ALJ L. Kalei Fong, determined that plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. at 11-23.) The ALJ made the following findings (citations to CFR omitted):*fn1

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 18, 2007, the application date.

2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: hypertension; osteoarthritis of the shoulders; hepatitis C; degenerative joint disease of the right ring metacarpal, knees, and left foot; degenerative disc disease of the thoracic and lumbar spine; migraine headaches; major depressive disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder; asthma; bilateral cataracts; obesity.

3. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairment in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix

1.

4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except: he can lift, carry, push, and/or pull 50 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; he can stand and/or walk in 20 minute increments for a total of 3 to 4 hours in an 8-hour workday; he can sit in 20 minute increments for a total of 6 hours in an 8-hour work day; he requires the option to alternate sitting and standing at will; he cannot climb stairs, scaffolds, or ladders, balance, or stoop; he can kneel, crouch, and crawl occasionally; he has limited near visual acuity, far acuity, and depth perception; he should avoid moderate exposure to extreme temperatures and hazards; he should avoid concentrated exposure to wetness, humidity and noise; he should avoid all exposure to fumes; he can perform simple repetitive law stress tasks, but cannot perform detailed or complex tasks; he should avoid interaction with the public; and he can have limited interaction with co-workers and supervisors.

5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.

6. The claimant was born on November 27, 1959 and was 47 years old, which is defined as a younger individual 18-49, on the date the application was filed.

7. The claimant has at least a high-school education and is able to communicate in English.

8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocations Rules as a framework supports a finding the claimant is "not disabled," whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills.

9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the ...


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