United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrick Auld United States Magistrate Judge
John Edward Shook, 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
claim for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). (Docket
Entry 2.) Defendant has filed the certified administrative
record (Docket Entry 8 (cited herein as “Tr. ”)),
and both parties have moved for judgment (Docket Entries 12,
16; see also Docket Entry 13 (Plaintiff's
Memorandum), Docket Entry 17 (Defendant's Memorandum)).
For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment
applied for DIB and SSI, alleging an onset date of March 15,
2009. (Tr. 213-24.) Upon denial of those applications
initially (Tr. 71-102, 139-43) and on reconsideration (Tr.
103-38, 147-53), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr. 156-58).
Plaintiff, his attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) attended the hearing (Tr. 43-70), at which
Plaintiff amended his onset date to August 1, 2013 (Tr.
46-48, 234). The ALJ subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did
not qualify as disabled under the Act. (Tr. 22-37.) The
Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for
review (Tr. 1-6, 15-21, 321-23), making the ALJ's ruling
the Commissioner's final decision for purposes of
rendering that disability determination, the ALJ made the
following findings later adopted by the Commissioner:
1. [Plaintiff] me[t] the insured status requirements of the
 Act through December 31, 2013.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 1, 2013, the amended alleged onset
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments:
hypertension; spinal stenosis, hypertrophy, and
osteoarthritis; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD);
history of alcoholism; history of polysubstance abuse; and
borderline intellectual functioning.
. . .
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 . . . except [Plaintiff] may occasionally
climb ladders. [Plaintiff] must avoid concentrated exposure
to fumes. Additionally, [Plaintiff] may perform simple,
routine, and repetitive tasks in a stable environment at a
. . .
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 [he] can perform.
. . .
11. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined
in the  Act, from August 1, 2013, through the ...