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 in October of 2010, alleging disability beginning in April 2003. Plaintiff filed a prior set of applications, and an ALJ denied them in February 2005 (Tr. 55-65). The current ALJ declined to reopen these applications and applied res judicata to the period between April 2003 through February 2005 (Tr. 25). Plaintiff has not challenged this determination on appeal. The October 2010 application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On February 27, 2012, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Charlie Paul Andrus (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Gina Baldwin, 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 March 23, 2012, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 25-13). Plaintiff was 54 years old at the time of the final decision by the ALJ (Tr. 65). Plaintiff has a high school education (Tr. 101) and past relevant work as a dairy farm worker, fork lift operator, and saw mill supervisor (Tr. 36, 101).
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.28).
The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from dizzy spells, degenerative changes to the spine, bilateral shoulder pain, depression and anxiety, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 28-29).
At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the ...