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Glass v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division Ashland

August 1, 2014

CARLA MAUREEN GLASS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

OPINION & ORDER

KAREN K. CALDWELL, District Judge.

The plaintiff, Carla Maureen Glass, brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to obtain judicial review of an administrative decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying his claim for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits. The Court, having reviewed the record, will affirm the Commissioner's decision, as it is supported by substantial evidence.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Carla Glass filed her claim for benefits on April 2, 2012, alleging a disability beginning January 1, 2012, Her claims were initially denied on July 17, 2012 (AE 128). and upon reconsideration on August 31, 2012. (AR 135, 138). Glass then filed a written request for a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). After the hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable opinion on April 5, 2013. (AR 16).

At the time of the alleged onset of disability, Glaas was 31 years old with a high school education and completed one year of college courses, (AR 27). She claims to be disabled due to her bipolar disorder, chronic constipation, pain and grinding sensation in her knees due to mild osteoarthritis and patellofemoral syndrome, complications from a pulmonary embolism, substance abuse, a pinched nerve in her neck, difficulty standings and poor balance. Glass has a driver's license and uses it two to three times a week, (AR 40),

Glass describes a long history of treatment for mental health difficulties, particularly her bipolar disorder and depression. She has been a patient at Pathways, Inc. off and on for several years, during which she has experienced both highs and lows, For example, on April 25. 2012, the plaintiffs treatment notes indicates she was "pleasant and cooperative." (AR 611). The note further described her mood as appropriate to the situation. (AR 611). Plaintiff also denied any suicidal thoughts or ideation, (AR 611). Treatment, notes from August of 2012 indicate Glass felt well and had a "good energy level." (AR 458),

Notably, Glass takes several medications that she claims cause negative side effects. In her hearing with the ALJ, she described taking Divalproex, Warfarin, Omeprazole, Bupropion Hydrochloride, Paroxetine, Linzess, and Risperidone. She testified that the medication is effective and helps her various conditions. (AR 53). However, Glass also complains of side effects from these medications. She claims to suffer from insomnia, constipation, and shakiness/balance problems, (AR 53, 65). Despite such complaints during her hearing, Glass points to no objective medical evidence related to these alleged side effects. In fact, Glass stated in her hearing that she has not informed her healthcare providers that she is experience some of these side effects, (AR 66 ("Q; Have you told Pathways that you think [your balance problems] might be a side effect? A: No, I have not.")).

Glass also testified at her hearing that she is able to perform a variety of regular household chores. She stated that she can cook, do the dishes, vacuum, mop pay bills, clean, do laundry, and take out the trash. (AR 61-62). She also confirmed she goes grocery shopping, goes out to visit people, uses a computer, enjoys pottery, and goes horseback riding. (AR 62-64). Glass testified that she takes care of three dogs and has a driver's license, which she uses to drive two to three times a week. (AR 40, 64),

In determining whether a claimant has a compensable disability under the Social Security Act (the "Act"), the regulations provide a five-step sequential process which the ALJ must follow. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e); see Walters v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 529 (6th Cir. 1997). The five steps, in summary, are as follows:

(1) If the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity, she is not disabled.
(2) If the claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity, her impairment must be severe before she can be found disabled.
(3) If the claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity and is suffering from a severe impairment that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve months, and his impairment meets or equals a listed impairment, the claimant is presumed disabled without further inquiry.
(4) If the claimant's Impairment does not prevent her from doing past relevant work, she is not disabled.
(5) Even if the claimant's impairment does prevent her from doing past relevant work, if other work exists in the national economy that accommodates her residual functional capacity and vocational factors ...

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