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Andrew J. Dawes v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

October 4, 2011

ANDREW J. DAWES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Arthur J. Schwab United States District Judge

ELECTRONICALLY FILED

MEMORANDUM OPINION

I. INTRODUCTION

Andrew J. Dawes ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final determination of the Commissioner of Social Security ("Defendant" or "Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 -- 433 ("Act"). This matter comes before the Court on Cross Motions for Summary Judgment. (ECF Nos. 8, 10). The record has been developed at the administrative level. For the following reasons, Plaintiff‟s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 8) will be DENIED, and Defendant‟s Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No. 10) will be GRANTED.

II. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed for DIB with the Social Security Administration on July 17, 2007, claiming an inability to work due to disability beginning August 31, 2006. (R. at 102 -- 107)*fn1 . Plaintiff was initially denied benefits on September 18, 2007. (R. at 66 -- 69). A hearing was scheduled for October 6, 2008, and Plaintiff appeared to testify represented by counsel. (R. at 6 -- 39). A vocational expert also testified. (R. at 22). The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") issued his decision denying benefits to Plaintiff on March 23, 2009. (R. at 42 -- 57). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the ALJ‟s decision by the Appeals Council, which was denied on March 22, 2011, thereby making the decision of the ALJ the final decision of the Commissioner. (R. at 1 -- 4).

Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this Court on April 29, 2011. (ECF No. 2). Defendant filed his Answer on June 30, 2011. (ECF No. 5). Cross Motions for Summary Judgment followed.

III. STATEMENT OF THE CASE

In his decision denying DIB to Plaintiff, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2006;

2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 31, 2006, the alleged onset date;

3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, episodic period of hypoglycemia secondary to substance abuse, major depression, bipolar disorder, and substance use disorders (alcoholism and drug use);

4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1;

5. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that, based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorders, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b) except he: must avoid unprotected heights and moving machinery; is limited to simple, routine, repetitive work not performed in a fast pace production environment, with relatively few work-place changes and relatively low stress; and he would be limited to performing work-related activities no more than 30 minutes at a time, 1 to 3 times a week, at unpredictable times;

6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work;

7. The claimant was born on February 21, 1966 and was 40 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset date;

8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English;

9. The claimant‟s acquired job skills do not transfer to other occupations within the residual functional capacity defined above;

10. Considering the claimant‟s age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity based on all of the impairments, including the substance use disorders, there are no jobs that exist in significant ...


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