United States District Court, D. Nevada
ROBERT J. MILLER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
WEKSLER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
case involves review of an administrative action by the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”)
denying Robert Miller's (Plaintiff's) application for
disability insurance benefits under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act. The court reviewed Plaintiff's
Motion for Reversal and/or Remand (ECF No. 18), filed April
27, 2018, and Defendant's Cross Motion to Affirm and
Opposition to Plaintiff's Motion for Reversal and/or
Remand (ECF Nos. 19, 20), filed May 25, 2018. Plaintiff did
not file a reply. This matter was referred to the undersigned
magistrate judge on May 6, 2019 for a report of findings and
recommendations under 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B)-(C) and
Local Rule IB 1-4.
September 2013, Plaintiff applied for disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income under Titles II and
XVI of the Act, alleging an onset date of October 1, 2012.
273, 275. The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's claims
initially and upon reconsideration. AR 189-93, 196-201. The
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) held hearings on October 20,
2015, and June 6, 2016. AR 39-82, 83-123. On September 14,
2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff was not
disabled. AR 19-38. On November 14, 2016, Plaintiff requested
that the Appeals Council review the ALJ's decision. AR
271-72. The Appeals Council denied this request on August 15,
2017, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's
final decision. AR 1-6. On October 6, 2017, Plaintiff
commenced this action for judicial review under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g). (See ECF No. 1.)
The ALJ Decision
followed the five-step sequential evaluation process set
forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520 and 416.920.
one, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not engage in
substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2012. AR 24.
two, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine,
congenital nystagmus, and right knee pain. Id.
three, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R., Part
404, Subpt. P, App. 1 (the listings). AR 27.
the ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to lift and/or carry 25 pounds occasionally,
20 pounds frequently; stand and/or walk for four hours in an
8-hour workday and sit for six hours in an 8-hour workday.
The ALJ found that Plaintiff could not occasionally climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, but could occasionally climb
ramps and stairs, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The ALJ
further found that Plaintiff had limited depth perception for
distance and speed and needed to avoid concentrated exposure
to vibrations and hazards. Finally, the ALJ found that
Plaintiff may need a cane to walk on uneven surfaces and for
prolonged distances but is able to carry small objects in his
other hand. Id.
four, the ALJ found that Plaintiff could not perform past
relevant work. AR 30.
five, and with the assistance of the vocational expert, the
ALJ found that there were jobs existing in significant
numbers that someone with Plaintiff's vocational profile
could perform. AR 31-32. The ALJ therefore found Plaintiff
“not disabled” as defined in the Act. AR 32.
Standard of Review
decisions in social security disability benefits cases are
reviewed under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). See Akopyan v.
Barnhart, 296 F.3d ...