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Edgar Raul Salazar v. Michael J. Astrue

March 5, 2012

EDGAR RAUL SALAZAR, 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"). This complaint proceeds before the undersigned by consent of the parties. (Doc. Nos. 7, 10). For the reasons that follow, plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 20) is granted, the Commissioner's Cross Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 23) is denied, the case is remanded for further proceedings, and judgment is entered for the plaintiff.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, born September 2, 1945, applied protectively for SSI on July 20, 2005, alleging disability beginning November 1, 2001. (Tr. at 20.)*fn1 Plaintiff alleged that he was disabled due to high blood pressure, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and hepatitis. (Tr. at 180.)

Plaintiff had previously applied for SSI in February 2000, and, on May 23, 2001, the administrative law judge found plaintiff not disabled because plaintiff was not unable to engage in substantial gainful activity for any continuous period of at least 12 months. (Tr. at 159.)

In a decision dated April 23, 2008, Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") William C. Thompson, Jr. determined plaintiff was not disabled. The ALJ made the following findings:*fn2

1. The claimant engaged in substantial gainful activity after July 20, 2005, the application date (20 CFR 416.920(b) and 416.971 et seq.).

2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: carpal tunnel syndrome, arthirtis of the lumbar spine, and hepatitis C with interferon treatment (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 20 CFR 416.926).

4. The claimant has the residual capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except the claimant can: bend, stoop, twist, squat, kneel, crawl, and climb occasionally; and handle, finger, and feel frequently with unlimited reaching (including overhead).

5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a quality control worker and water treatment technician. This work does not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 416.965).

6. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since July 20, 2005 (20 CFR 416.920(f)), the date the application was filed.

(Tr. at 22-26.)

In addition, the ALJ determined that changed circumstances rebutted the presumption of continuing non-disability in this case, noting that while the prior ALJ had found plaintiff not disabled because plaintiff had been engaged in substantial gainful activity, the evidence on this application showed periods of ...


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