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Ernest Vasquez Cuadras v. Michael J. Astrue

December 30, 2011

ERNEST VASQUEZ CUADRAS, 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 applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under Titles II and XVI, respectively, of the Social Security Act ("Act"). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's motion for summary judgment is granted in part, defendant's cross-motion for summary judgment is denied, the case is remanded for further proceedings under sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), and judgment is entered for plaintiff.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born October 18, 1961, applied on February 26, 2007 for DIB and SSI alleging that he became disabled on October 15, 2002. (Tr. at 9, 16, 22, 142, 149.) Plaintiff contended that he was unable to work primarily due to diabetes, stress, depression, as well as eye and feet problems. (Tr. at 162.)

In a decision dated July 15, 2009, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") Laura Speck Havens determined that plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. at 17.) The ALJ made the following findings:*fn1

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2006.

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 15, 2002, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: diabetes, heart disease and depression (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 in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525, 404.1526, 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 light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) as follows: can sit 6 hours out of an 8 hour day, can stand 4 hours out of an 8 hour day and can walk 4 hours out of an 8 hour day and requires a sit/stand option to perform a job; can occasionally lift and carry 20 pounds frequently lift and carry 10 pounds; must avoid concentrated exposure to heights, moving machinery and vibrations.

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

7. The claimant was born on October 18, 1961 and was 40 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, 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 and 416.964).

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 404.1569, 404.1569a, 416.969, and 416.969a).

11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from October 15, 2002 through the date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(g) and 416.920(g)).

(Tr. at 11-17.) Subsequently, plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council and submitted additional medical evidence in support of the request for review. (Tr. at 140.) On June 16, 2010, the Appeals Council denied the request for review, making the ...


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