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Moore v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

May 24, 2013

BRADLEY MOORE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1] THAT: (1) THE ALJ'S NON-DISABILITY FINDING BE FOUND UNSUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE, AND REVERSED; (2) THIS MATTER BE REMANDED TO THE COMMISSIONER UNDER THE FOURTH SENTENCE OF 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) FOR PROCEEDINGS CONSISTENT WITH THIS OPINION; AND (3) THIS CASE BE CLOSED

MICHAEL J. NEWMAN, Magistrate Judge.

This is a Social Security disability benefits appeal. At issue is whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in finding Plaintiff not "disabled" and therefore unentitled to Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). This case is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Statement of Errors (doc. 8), the Commissioner's Memorandum in Opposition (doc. 10), the administrative record (doc. 6), and the record as a whole.[2]

I. BACKGROUND

A. Procedural History

Plaintiff previously applied for SSI and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") in March 2006, alleging a disability onset date of April 12, 2000. PageID 93, 177-83. In May 2009, ALJ Amelia Lombardo issued a written decision finding Plaintiff could no longer perform his past relevant work, but could nonetheless perform a number of other jobs in the regional economy. PageID 93-101. As such, both of Plaintiff's disability applications were denied. Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied review, see PageID 102-07, and no appeal was filed in this Court under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

On June 18, 2009, Plaintiff filed new applications for SSI and DIB, alleging disability due to diabetes, hypertension, anemia and problems with his left hand and neck. PageID 184-88, 211. Initially, Plaintiff listed May 1, 2008 as his alleged disability onset date. PageID 51. However, Plaintiff has since modified his alleged disability onset date to June 18, 2009, which is after his "date of last insured" for purposes of DIB. Id. Accordingly, Plaintiff's DIB claim is deemed waived, and the only issue before the Court is whether or not Plaintiff is entitled to SSI benefits from July 2009 onward. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.335; Newsome v. Soc. Sec. Admin., 100 F.Appx. 502, 504 (6th Cir. 2004).

B. Plaintiff's SSI Claim

Following initial administrative denials, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Larry Parker in June 2011. PageID 65-88. In July 2011, ALJ Parker issued a written decision, concluding - contrary to ALJ Lombardo two years prior - that Plaintiff could perform his past relevant work, and thus is not "disabled." PageID 51-59. Specifically, ALJ Parker's findings, which represent the rationale of his decision, were as follows:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 18, 2009, the application date (20 CFR § 416.971 et seq. );
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: essential hypertension; diabetes mellitus; and other polyarthropathies (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 §§ 406.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926);
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the [ALJ] finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity ["RFC"] to perform the full range of light work as defined in 20 CFR § 416.967(b)[3];
5. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as an Offset Press Operator. This work does not require the performance of work related activities precluded by ...

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