United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HENRY R. WILHOIT, 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 and supplemental security income 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 his current application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits on April 18, 2010, alleging disability beginning on June 30, 2009, due to "back injury, depression and heart issues" (Tr. 201). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On January 10, 2012, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Jerry Meade (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Dwight McMillion, 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 January 27, 2012, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 12-26). Plaintiff was 43 years old at the time of the hearing decision. He has a high school education and past relevant work as a truck driver and trainer.
At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of disability (Tr. 14).
The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from morbid obesity, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis, hiatal hernia, hypertension, major depressive disorder, anxiety and opioid dependence which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 14-16).
At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the listed impairments (Tr. 16-18).
The ALJ further found that Plaintiff could not return to his past relevant work (Tr. 24) but determined that he has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform ...