United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Heath Wynn appeals the decision of the Acting Commissioner of
Social Security denying his application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under the Social
Security Act. Upon consideration of the briefs submitted by
both parties, the record evidence, and the relevant statutory
and case law, the Court REPORTS and
RECOMMENDS pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), the Commissioner's final decision
be REVERSED and the case be
REMANDED to the Commissioner for further
applied for DIB on July 25, 2014, alleging a disability onset
date of April 30, 2012. Tr. (“R.”), pp. 164-70.
Plaintiff's last insured date for purposes of the DIB
application is March 31, 2016. R. 178. Plaintiff was
thirty-three years old on his alleged disability onset date.
Id. Plaintiff applied for benefits based on
allegations of chronic debilitating back and leg pain,
ruptured discs, high blood pressure, and depression. R. 192.
Plaintiff has a twelfth-grade education, and, prior to his
alleged disability, Plaintiff had accrued relevant work
history as a truck driver, forklift operator, groundskeeper,
and corrections officer. R. 37, 193.
Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's
applications initially, R. 54-68, and on reconsideration, R.
68-84. Plaintiff requested a hearing before an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”), R. 99-100, and the ALJ held a
hearing on May 11, 2016. R. 30-53. At the hearing, the ALJ
heard testimony from Plaintiff, who was represented by
counsel, as well as from Tina Baker-Ivey, a Vocational Expert
(“VE”). Id. On June 24, 2016, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision. R. 10-25.
the sequential process required by 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520,
the ALJ found:
1. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful
activity from April 30, 2012, the alleged onset date, though
the last insured date of March 31, 2016 (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1571 et seq.).
2. The claimant had the following severe impairment through
the last insured Dated: degenerative disc disease (20 C.F.R.
3. Through the last insured date, the claimant did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526).
4. Through the last insured date, the claimant has the RFC to
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a)
except: sit/stand option; occasional pushing/pulling; never
climb ladders or crawl; occasionally climb stairs, balance,
or stoop; avoid exposure to heights and machinery; and
perform simple 3-4 step job tasks, able to tolerate
occasional changes in the workplace. Thus, the claimant was
unable to perform any past relevant work (20 C.F.R. §
5. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and RFC, there were jobs that existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
could perform through the last date insured, including
cashier, parking lot attendant, and ticket taker (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1569, 404.1569(a)). Therefore, the claimant
was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security
Act, at any time from April 30, 2012, the alleged disability
onset date, and March 31, 2016, the last insured date. (20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g)
the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's
request for review, R. 1-3, the Commissioner's decision
became “final” for the purpose of judicial
review. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff then filed this
civil action requesting reversal or remand of that adverse
argues the Commissioner's decision is not supported by
substantial evidence because the ALJ erred by failing to: (1)
find Plaintiff met Listing 1.04B; (2) give proper weight to
Plaintiff's treating physician; and (3) properly evaluate
his pain under the Holt standard. See doc.
nos. 12 (“Pl.'s Br.”), 18 (“Pl.'s
Reply”). The Commissioner maintains the decision to
deny Plaintiff benefits is ...