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Richardson v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

May 27, 2014

CYNTHIA RICHARDSON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HENRY R. WIHOIT, Jr., District Judge.

Plaintiff has brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g) to challenge a final decision of the Defendant denying Plaintiff's application for disability insurance benefits. The Court having reviewed the record in this case and the dispositive motions filed by the parties, and being otherwise sufficiently advised, for the reasons set forth herein, finds that the decision of the Administrative Law Judge is supported by substantial evidence and should be affirmed.

I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Plaintiff filed an application for on October 8, 2010, alleging disability beginning on March 31, 2010, secondary to a motor vehicle accident, with resultant neck and low back pain as well as depression (Tr. 213). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On September 21, 2011, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Roger Reynolds (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Betty Hale, a vocational expert (hereinafter "VE"), also testified.

At the hearing, pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 416.920, the ALJ performed the following five-step sequential analysis in order to determine whether the Plaintiff was disabled:

Step 1: If the claimant is performing substantial gainful work, he is not disabled.
Step 2: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful work, his impairment(s) must be severe before he can be found to be disabled based upon the requirements in 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(b).
Step 3: If the claimant is not performing substantial gainful work and has a severe impairment (or impairments) that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months, and his impairments (or impairments) meets or medically equals a listed impairment contained in Appendix 1, Subpart P, Regulation No.4, the claimant is disabled without further inquiry.
Step 4: If the claimant's impairment (or impairments) does not prevent him from doing his past relevant work, he is not disabled.
Step 5: Even if the claimant's impairment or impairments prevent him from performing his past relevant work, if other work exists in significant numbers in the national economy that accommodates his residual functional capacity and vocational factors, he is not disabled.

On October 21, 2011, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 32-40).

Plaintiff was 41 years old at the time of the hearing decision (Tr. 34). She attended college for three years (Tr. 34). Her application lists past relevant work experience as a CNA, a temporary worker in an emergency room and a cashier at Lowe's (Tr. 214). However, the ALJ described her work history as exiguous, with no steady work after 2007 (Tr. 34).

At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity from the alleged onset date of disability through her date last insured, June 30, 2011 (Tr. 34).

The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from chronic neck and low back pain secondary to degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine with disc bulges at multiple levels, and pain and numbness of right hand and arm, which he ...


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