United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
JOI ELIZABETH PEAKE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Rosalie Boyer-Hinson, 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 protectively filed her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security Income Benefits ("SSI") on July 6, 2009, alleging a disability onset date of September 5, 2008. (Tr. at 9, 128-35.) Her applications were denied initially (Tr. at 50-51, 54-61) and upon reconsideration (Tr. at 52-53, 65-82). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") (Tr. at 83-84), which she attended on April 14, 2011, along with her attorney (Tr. at 9). The ALJ ultimately issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled under the meaning of the Act (Tr. at 17), and on September 21, 2012, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review, thereby making the ALJ's conclusion the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial review (Tr. at 1-3).
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 March 31, 2013.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 5, 2008, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: dysfunction of a joint; right rotator cuff syndrome; disorder of the spine; and affective disorders (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
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 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 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 light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that she is able to lift up to 20 pounds occasionally and lift up to 10 pounds frequently; and she can perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks, with no detailed instructions.
(Tr. at 11-12.)
Although the ALJ found that Plaintiff's residual functional capacity ("RFC") precluded her from performing any of her past relevant work, he further determined, based on Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, that Plaintiff retained the ability to perform other jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. at 17.) He therefore concluded that Plaintiff was not under a ...