The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Jay C. Gandhi United States Magistrate Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. INTRODUCTION AND SUMMARY
On April 29, 2011, plaintiff David E. Combs ("Plaintiff") filed a complaint against defendant Michael J. Astrue ("Defendant"), the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, seeking review of a denial of disability insurance benefits ("DIB") and supplemental security income benefits ("SSI"). [Docket No. 3.]
On November 8, 2011, Defendant filed his answer, along with a certified copy of the administrative record. [Docket Nos. 11-13.]
In sum, having carefully studied, inter alia, the parties' joint stipulation and the administrative record, the Court concludes that, as detailed below, there is substantial evidence in the record, taken as a whole, to support the decision of the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). Thus, the Court affirms the Commissioner's decision denying benefits.
II. PERTINENT FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Plaintiff, who was 48 years old on the date of his administrative hearing, is a college graduate. (See Administrative Record ("AR") at 65, 69, 185, 231.)
On November 21 and 28, 2008, Plaintiff protectively filed for DIB and SSI, alleging that he has been disabled since October 25, 2008 based on a crushed ankle, right ankle and foot osteoarthritis, right ankle arthrodesis*fn1 and fusion, and unsuccessful fusion surgery. (See AR at 19, 122, 185, 196, 225.)
On November 18, 2009, Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified at a hearing before an ALJ. (See AR at 65-105.) The ALJ also heard testimony from Howard Goldfarb, a vocational expert ("VE"). (Id.; see also id. at 167.)
On March 12, 2010, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's request for benefits. (AR at 19-38.) Applying the familiar five-step sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found, at step one, that Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date. (Id. at 34.)
At step two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff suffers from severe impairments consisting of "status post right ankle injury and arthrodesis." (AR at 34 (bold omitted).)
At step three, the ALJ determined that the evidence did not demonstrate that Plaintiff's impairments, either individually or in combination, meet or medically equaled the severity of any listing set forth in the Social Security regulations.*fn2 (AR at 34.)
The ALJ then assessed Plaintiff's residual functional capacity*fn3 ("RFC") and determined that he can perform light work. (AR at 34.) Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff can: lift and carry up to 10 pounds frequently and 20 pounds occasionally, stand and/or walk 6/8 hours with periodic alternating sitting and standing every 1 hour for 15 minutes, sit 6/8 hours, no use of right lower extremity foot controls, occasional ramp/stair climbing, no ladder/rope/scaffold climbing, occasional balancing, stooping and crouching, no kneeling or crawling, avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold, avoid even moderate exposure to unprotected heights or hazardous machinery and no running or jumping or working on uneven surfaces. (Id. at 34-35 (emphasis omitted).)
The ALJ found, at step four, that Plaintiff has the ability to perform his past relevant work as a warehouse ...