United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
U.S. COMMISSIONER SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. Hornsby U.S. Magistrate Judge
(“Plaintiff”) was born in 1952, has a high school
education, and has work experience in a lumber mill and a
chicken processing plant. He had a heart attack that has left
him with chest pains and related limitations. He quit working
in January 2014 and applied for disability benefits.
Charles Lindsay conducted a hearing and issued a written
decision. He found that Plaintiff was not disabled because he
could perform the demands of one of his prior jobs, a sizer
grader in a lumber mill, and the Appeals Council denied a
request for review. Plaintiff filed this civil action to
request the limited judicial review allowed by 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). He complains that the ALJ and a vocational
expert improperly characterized his prior job as less
demanding than it really was. For the reasons that follow, it
is recommended that the Commissioner's decision be
of Disability; the Five-Step
Social Security Act entitles certain persons to disability
benefits or supplemental security income benefits if they are
disabled within the meaning of the law. The Act defines
disabled persons as those who are unable to engage in any
substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be
expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months. The Act requires the Commissioner to establish by
regulation uniform standards for the adjudication of claims.
Insurance Benefits (Part 404) eligibility and amount are tied
to the applicant's earnings history. Supplemental
Security Income or SSI (Part 416) has no minimum earnings
prerequisite and pays a fixed monthly benefit to all
recipients. Plaintiff has applied for both forms of benefits.
The law governing the determination of disability under
either program is the same. Haywood v. Sullivan, 888
F.2d 1463, 1467 (5th Cir. 1989). The Commissioner has
developed a five-step sequential evaluation to make the
1. The claimant must not be engaging in substantial gainful
2. The claimant must have a “severe” impairment
as defined by Stone v. Heckler, 752 F.2d 1099, 1101
(5th Cir. 1985).
3. If the impairment meets or equals an impairment listed in
Appendix 1 of the regulations the person will be considered
disabled without consideration of vocational factors.
4. A claimant capable of performing his past relevant work is
5. If a claimant cannot perform his past work, other factors
including age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) must be considered to
determine if he can perform other work.
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520
(DIB); and 416.920 (SSI). The claimant has the burden on the
first four steps of the analysis. Bowen v. Yuckert,
107 S.Ct. 2287, 2294 n. 5 (1987). The burden shifts to the
Commissioner on the fifth step. Id. “A finding
that a claimant is disabled or is not disabled at any point
in the five-step review is conclusive ...