United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
LINDA C. SCOTT, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Auld United States Magistrate Judge
Linda C. Scott, brought this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act (the “Act”) to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of Defendant, the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiff's
claims for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). (Docket
Entry 1.) Defendant has filed the certified administrative
record (Docket Entry 8 (cited herein as “Tr.
__”)), and both parties have moved for judgment (Docket
Entries 12, 17; see also Docket Entry 13
(Plaintiff's Brief); Docket Entry 18 (Defendant's
Memorandum); Docket Entry 19 (Plaintiff's Reply Brief)).
For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment
applied for DIB and SSI, alleging an onset date of January
30, 2009. (Tr. 266-73.) Upon denial of those applications
initially (Tr. 125-64, 209-13) and on reconsideration (Tr.
165-208, 214-22), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr.
223-24). Plaintiff, her attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) attended the hearing, during which
Plaintiff amended her onset date to April 27, 2012, the day
after an ALJ decision denying her prior claims for DIB and
SSI. (See Tr. 40, 42, 285, 98-111.) The ALJ
subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled
under the Act. (Tr. 10-31.) The Appeals Council thereafter
denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-6, 7-9,
362-63), thereby making the ALJ's ruling the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of judicial
rendering that disability determination, the ALJ made the
following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. [Plaintiff] meets the insured status requirements of the
 Act through March 31, 2014.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since April 27, 2012, the amended onset date.
. . .
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments:
multi-level degenerative disc disease without nerve root
impingement; fibromyalgia; coronary artery disease;
hypertension; bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, status-post
release surgery; sarcoidosis; chronic obstructive pulmonary
disease/asthma; post-traumatic stress disorder; panic
disorder; somatization disorder; depression; bipolar
disorder; personality disorder; cephalgia/migraine headaches
secondary to cerebrospinal fluid leak; diabetes mellitus;
gout; fatty liver; gastroesophageal reflux disease; sleep
. . .
4. [Plaintiff] does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
. . .
5. . . . [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work . . . with the following provisos:
[Plaintiff] is limited to frequent use of the upper
extremities bilaterally for pushing, pulling, operating hand
controls, handling, fingering, and /or feeling. [Plaintiff]
is limited to occasional use of her left lower extremity for
pushing, pulling, and/or operating foot controls. [Plaintiff]
must avoid concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants, such
as fumes, odors, dusts, gases, poor ventilation and the like,
as well as concentrated exposure to temperature extremes of
heat and humidity. [Plaintiff] must avoid even moderate
exposure to workplace hazards, such as dangerous moving
machinery and unprotected heights. [Plaintiff] can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but never ladders, ropes
or scaffolds. [Plaintiff] can occasionally balance, stoop,
kneel, crouch, and/or crawl. [Plaintiff] can understand and
perform simple, routine, repetitive tasks and maintain
concentration, persistence and pace to stay on task for
2-hour periods over the course of a typical 8-hour workday in
order to perform such tasks. [Plaintiff] requires a low
stress work setting, which, in addition to the nature of the
work being performed, is further defined to mean no
production-pace or quota-based work, rather a goal-oriented
job primarily dealing with things as opposed to people, with
no more than occasional work with the public as a component
of the job, and no more than occasional changes in the work
setting. [Plaintiff] requires a sit/stand option that allows
for the change of position at 30-minute intervals, in
addition to normal work breaks.
. . .
6. [Plaintiff] is unable to perform any past relevant work.
. . .
10. Considering [Plaintiff's] age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that [Plaintiff] can perform.
. . .
11. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined
in the  Act, from April 27, 2012, through the date of this
(Tr. 15-31 (bold font and internal parenthetical citations