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Walter Kizys v. William H. Baughman

October 21, 2011

WALTER KIZYS,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILLIAM H. BAUGHMAN, JR. COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William H. Baughman, Jr. United States Magistrate Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND MAGISTRATE JUDGE

ORDER

Introduction

This is an action for judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying the application of the plaintiff, Walter Kizys, for supplemental security income. The parties have consented to magistrate judge's jurisdiction.

The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), whose decision became the final decision of the Commissioner, found that Kizys had severe impairments consisting of diabetes mellitus, bilateral edema, obesity, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, nicotine dependence, obstructive sleep apnea, hypertension, and osteoarthritis in the hip.*fn1 The ALJ made the following finding regarding Kizys's residual functional capacity:

The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform the full range of sedentary work (i.e., lifting up to 10 pounds occasionally, sitting up to 6 hours and standing/walking up to 2 hours in an 8-hour workday).*fn2

The ALJ decided that this residual functional capacity precluded Kizys from performing any past relevant work.*fn3

Applying the medical-vocational guidelines in Appendix 2 of the regulations, the ALJ determined that a significant number of jobs existed locally and nationally that Kizys could perform.*fn4 The ALJ, therefore, found Kizys not under a disability.*fn5

Kizys asks for reversal of the Commissioner's decision on the ground that it does not have the support of substantial evidence in the administrative record. Specifically, Kizys argues that the ALJ erred by not including greater work-related limitations in the residual functional capacity finding.

I conclude that the ALJ's residual functional capacity finding is not supported by substantial evidence and, therefore, the case must be remanded for reconsideration of that finding.

Analysis

This is a case in which the ALJ found that Kizys had multiple severe impairments and imposed an extremely restrictive residual functional capacity finding without the benefit of any medical source opinion as to work-related limitations whatsoever.

Counsel in their briefs made no reference to my opinion in Deskin v. Commissioner of Social Security,*fn6 which discusses in detail the circumstances under which an ALJ may make a residual functional capacity finding without the benefit of medical source opinions.

At the oral argument, however, counsel for the Commissioner cited to the decision in Henderson v. Commissioner of Social Security,*fn7 which discusses and criticizes Deskin. This case, therefore, presents a challenge to the rule ...


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