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Miller v. Colvin

United States District Court, Eighth Circuit

May 7, 2013

DENNIS L. MILLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

LEONARD T. STRAND, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff Dennis Miller seeks judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner") denying his application for supplemental security income ("SSI") pursuant to Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3). Miller contends the administrative record ("AR") does not contain substantial evidence to support the Commissioner's decision that he is not disabled. For the reasons explained below, I must remand the case for further proceedings.

Background

Miller was born in 1953 and has a GED. AR 28, 44. He has not worked since 2001, but previously did cleaning and mechanical work. AR 28-29. Miller protectively filed for benefits on April 6, 2009. AR 108-111. His claims were denied initially and on reconsideration. AR 49-51. Miller requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). AR 67. On December 15, 2010, ALJ Robert Maxwell held a hearing during which Miller and a vocational expert ("VE") testified. AR 23-48.

On December 30, 2010, the ALJ issued a decision finding Miller not disabled since April 6, 2009. AR 18. Miller sought review of this decision by the Appeals Council, which denied review on March 30, 2012. AR 1-3. The ALJ's decision thus became the final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.

On May 29, 2012, Miller filed a complaint in this court seeking review of the ALJ's decision. On June 21, 2012, with the parties' consent, United States District Judge Mark W. Bennett transferred the case to me for final disposition and entry of judgment. The parties have briefed the issues and the matter is now fully submitted.

Summary of ALJ's Decision

The ALJ made the following findings:

(1) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 6, 2009, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq. ).
(2) The claimant has the following severe impairment: depression (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
(3) The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
(4) After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range or work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: Mentally, the claimant is able to perform simple, routine tasks.
(5) The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).

(6) The claimant was born on July 19, 1953 and was 55 years old, which is defined as an individual of advanced age, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).

(7) The claimant has a limited education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
(8) Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
(9) Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
(10) The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since April 6, 2009, the date the ...

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