United States District Court, M.D. North Carolina
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND RECOMMENDATION OF UNITED
STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
PATRICK AULD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Angela Crabtree, brought this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act (the “Act”) to obtain judicial
review of a final decision of Defendant, the Commissioner of
Social Security, denying Plaintiff's claim for
Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). (Docket
Entry 1.) Defendant has filed the certified administrative
record (Docket Entry 7 (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 for
applied for SSI. (Tr. 219-25.) Upon denial of that
application initially (Tr. 110-19, 131-34) and on
reconsideration (Tr. 120-30, 141-50), Plaintiff requested a
hearing de novo before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) (Tr. 151-53). At the hearing, which
Plaintiff, her attorney, and a vocational expert
(“VE”) attended (Tr. 42-72), the ALJ determined
that, in order to fully develop the record, he needed to
consult a medical expert (“ME”) in the field of
cardiology, send Plaintiff to a consultative psychological
examination to gauge her cognitive symptoms, and convene a
supplemental hearing (see Tr. 69-70). Plaintiff, her
attorney, a VE, and an ME attended the supplemental hearing.
(Tr. 73-109). The ALJ subsequently ruled that Plaintiff did
not qualify as disabled under the Act. (Tr. 8-30.) The
Appeals Council thereafter denied Plaintiff's request for
review (Tr. 1-7, 217-18, 354-56), thereby 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] has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since September 26, 2013, the application date.
. . .
2. [Plaintiff] has the severe impairments of postural
orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), chronic fatigue
syndrome (CFS), and depression.
. . .
3. [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,
. . .
4. . . . [Plaintiff] has the residual functional capacity to
perform work at the light exertional level who can stand
and/or walk for up to a total of [four] hours in an
[eight-]hour workday, and can sit for up to a total of [six]
hours in an [eight]-hour workday. She can perform
goal-oriented rather than production oriented work (e.g., the
performance of work tasks in allotted time is more important
than the pace at which the work tasks are performed). She can
never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can occasionally
balance and stoop. She can have occasional exposure to moving
mechanical parts and high, exposed places (as defined by the
[Selected Characteristics of Occupations
(“SCO”)]). She can perform work that does not
require the operation of a motor vehicle or heavy equipment.
She can perform simple, routine work (i.e., requires little
or no judgment, requires little specific vocational
preparation and can be learned on the job within 30 days,
does not provide work skills and has no more than occasional
changes in core work duties). She can have frequent contact
with the general public, coworkers, and supervisors.
. . .
5. [Plaintiff] has no past relevant work. . . .
9. Considering [Plaintiff's] age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant No. in the national economy that
[Plaintiff] can perform.
. . .
10. [Plaintiff] has not been under a disability, as defined
in the [Act], since September 26, 2013, the date the
application was filed.
(Tr. 13-29 (bold font and internal parenthetical citations
law “authorizes judicial review of the Social Security
Commissioner's denial of social security benefits.”
Hines v. Barnhart,453 F.3d 559, 561 (4th Cir.
2006). However, “the scope of [the Court's] review
of [such a] decision . . . is extremely limited.”
Frady v. Harris,646 F.2d 143, 144 (4th Cir. 1981).