United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division, Dayton
H. Rice, District Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS 
L. Ovington, United States Magistrate Judge
Terry Rutledge brings this case challenging the Social
Security Administration's denial of his application for
Supplemental Security Income. He applied for benefits on May
20, 2015, asserting that he could no longer work a
substantial paid job. Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Mark
Hockensmith concluded that he was not eligible for benefits
because he is not under a “disability” as defined
in the Social Security Act.
case is before the Court upon Plaintiff's Statement of
Errors (Doc. #7), the Commissioner's Memorandum in
Opposition (Doc. #8), Plaintiff's Reply (Doc. #9), and
the administrative record (Doc. #6).
seeks a remand of this case for payment of benefits or, at a
minimum, for further proceedings. The Commissioner asks the
Court to affirm ALJ Hockensmith's non-disability
asserts that he has been under a “disability”
since October 1, 2012. He was fifty-three years old at that
time and was therefore considered a person “closely
approaching advanced age” under Social Security
Regulations. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(d). He has
a high school education. See 20 C.F.R. §
testified at the hearing before ALJ Hockensmith that his
ankles swell almost every night and hurt. (Doc. #6,
PageID #s 71, 75). If he is on his feet too long,
his feet and ankles swell during the day. Id. at 76.
He generally spends sixty to seventy percent of his time
during the day lying down or elevating his feet. Id.
Plaintiff falls because his ankle rolls in and his foot
twists. Id. at 74. In a one-month period, he fell
fifteen to twenty times. Id. at 74. His doctor
prescribed a cane, and he has braces permanently inside his
shoes. Id. at 74-75.
has arthritis in his neck. Id. at 74. He also has
problems with his back. Id. at 71. He has a sharp
pain that goes down through his back and up under his
shoulder blade. Id. at 74. He has trouble turning
certain ways and is sometimes unable to get up and out of
bed. Id. at 71. If he tries to lift heavy items, it
bothers his lower back. He guessed that he could lift
twenty-five pounds. Id. at 74, 77. But he also
testified that it is “kind of hard” to lift a
gallon of milk. Id. at 71. Sometimes when he tries
to pick up a gallon, pain shoots up his arm and he feels like
he will drop it. Id. at 77.
arthritis in his hands and they hurt. Id. at 71. He
has braces for his wrists that he is supposed to wear at
night. Id. If his hands start hurting, he wears the
braces during the day. Id. The night before the
hearing, he fell asleep without them. His wrist swelled up
and hurt. Id. Sometimes Plaintiff cannot pick
anything up; “When they [are] like this, I can't
feel nothing. That's why they [are] red.”
had a heart attack and was in the hospital for three days.
Id. at 76. He still has chest pain. When he has
chest pain, his doctor told him to take nitroglycerine, lie
down, relax, and do nothing. Id. at 75. He estimated
that he takes one nitroglycerine a week. Id. at 76.
has diabetes mellitus. He takes a shot with each meal and a
24-hour shot. Id. at 71. He struggles with his blood
sugar: “I take home shots when I wake up in the
morning. My blood sugar might be like 180/190. If I eat
something, it goes to 389, and I can take that shot, but it
still ain't going to come down to about 350
something.” Id. at 77. When his blood sugar is
that high, his head hurts and he gets dizzy. Id. He
takes gabapentin for neuropathy. Id. at 75.
found out that he had cataracts when he was driving at night
in the rain and he almost went off the road because lights
blinded him. Id. at 72. His vision was so bad that
he could not pass the vision test to get his license.
Id. at 73. Plaintiff had cataract surgery in 2014
and he “can see pretty good.” Id. at 74.
He has a “light prescription.” Id. at 74
At the time of the hearing, Plaintiff had lived with his
mother for two years, since she had back surgery.
Id. at 70. He is not able to do much around the
house because he knows he will fall. Id. at 75. He
might wash dishes or something like that. Id. at 75.
His son comes over to cut the grass and take out the trash.
Id. at 75. Plaintiff is able to drive but does not
when he takes his medications (because they make him drowsy)
or when he is in pain. Id. at 71. Plaintiff's
pain keeps him from leaving the house about two times a week.
Id. at 77.
Standard of Review
Social Security Administration provides Supplemental Security
Income to individuals who are under a “disability,
” among other eligibility requirements. Bowen v.
City of New York,476 U.S. 467, 470 (1986); see
42 U.S.C. § 1382(a). The term
“disability”-as defined by the Social Security
Act-has specialized meaning of limited scope. It encompasses
“any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment” that precludes an applicant from performing
a significant paid job-i.e., ...