United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
CANDACE Y. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN,  Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
JOI ELIZABETH PEAKE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff Candace Martin ("Plaintiff") brought this action pursuant to Sections 205(g) and 1631(c)(3) of the Social Security Act (the "Act"), as amended (42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3)), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claims for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income under, respectively, Titles II and XVI of the Act. The parties have filed cross-motions for judgment, and the administrative record has been certified to the Court for review.
I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY
Plaintiff filed her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits and Supplemental Security Income on June 5, 2006, alleging a disability onset date of September 10, 2004. (Tr. 135-44.) Her applications were denied initially (Tr. at 68-69, 72-79) and upon reconsideration (Tr. at 70-71, 83-92). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (Tr. at 93-94.) Plaintiff, along with her attorney and an impartial vocational expert, attended the subsequent video hearing on March 13, 2009. (Tr. at 11.) The ALJ ultimately determined that Plaintiff was not disabled within the meaning of the Act (Tr. at 26) and, on March 25, 2011, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review of the decision, thereby making the ALJ's conclusion the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review (Tr. at 1-5).
In rendering his disability determination, the ALJ made the following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 30, 2009.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 10, 2004, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq. , and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder (20 CFR 404.1521 et seq. and 416.921 et seq. ).
4. 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 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she is best suited to perform short-cycle work which does not require reading and writing skills. Furthermore, she should avoid dealing with the public or working in crowded areas.
(Tr. at 13-17.)
The ALJ then considered Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and the above residual functional capacity ("RFC") and determined that Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her past relevant work. However, he found that Plaintiff could perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. at 24.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not under a ...