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. The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. For the reasons discussed below, the court grants the Commissioner's motion and denies plaintiff's motion.
Plaintiff filed for SSI benefits on December 31, 2006. AR 79. His application was denied initially and upon reconsideration. Id. at 81, 89. On October 8, 2008, a hearing was held before administrative law judge ("ALJ") Theodore Slocum. Id. at 24. Plaintiff was represented by counsel at the hearing, at which he and a vocational expert (VE) testified. Id. at 24-78.
On February 2, 2009, the ALJ issued a decision finding that plaintiff
was not disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the act.*fn1
Id. at 10-18. The ALJ made the following specific
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since December 31, 2006, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: cervical and lumbar degenerative disc disease, hypertension, obesity, and history of substance abuse in remission (20 CFR 416.921 et seq.).
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 416.925 and 416.926).
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 occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, or crouch and never crawl. ...
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (PRW) (20 CFR 416.965). ...
6. The claimant was born [in] 1961 and was 45 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has a limited 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-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is "not disabled," whether or not the claimant has transferable job ...