United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
JESSIE G. BOWMAN, 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
Jessie G. Bowman, 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 9 (cited herein as “Tr. ”)),
and both parties have moved for judgment (Docket Entries 11,
13; see also Docket Entry 12 (Plaintiff's
Memorandum), Docket Entry 14 (Defendant's Memorandum)).
For the reasons that follow, the Court should enter judgment
applied for DIB and SSI, alleging an onset date of December
31, 2011. (Tr. 225-36.) Upon denial of those applications
initially (Tr. 66-91, 128-33) and on reconsideration (Tr.
92-127, 138-55), Plaintiff requested a hearing de novo before
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) (Tr. 156).
Plaintiff, her attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) attended the hearing. (Tr. 33-65.) The ALJ
subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did not qualify as disabled
under the Act. (Tr. 13-27.) The Appeals Council thereafter
denied Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-6, 12,
333-34), making the ALJ's ruling the Commissioner's
final decision for purposes of judicial review.
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 December 31, 2016.
2. [Plaintiff] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 31, 2011, the alleged onset date.
3. [Plaintiff] has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; obesity;
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); major
depressive disorder; and panic disorder with anxiety.
. . .
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 medium work . . . except [Plaintiff] can frequently
climb ramps or stairs, balance, stoop, kneel, crawl or
crouch. [Plaintiff] cannot climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds, and must avoid concentrated exposure to hazards,
dust, fumes, gases, poor ventilation and extremes of heat,
which should be no more than frequent. Mentally, [Plaintiff]
can perform simple, routine tasks with no interaction with
the public and only occasional contact with coworkers and
supervisors. She also can adapt to routine changes in the
. . .
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 [she] can perform.
. . .
11. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined
in the  Act, from December 31, 2011, through the ...