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Hoover v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

September 29, 2014

ANTHONY D. HOOVER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

JOSEPH M. HOOD, District Judge.

This matter is before the Court upon cross-motions for summary judgment [DE 11, 12] on Plaintiff's appeal, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of the Commissioner's denial of his application for disability insurance benefits. The Court, having reviewed the record and the parties' motions, will deny Plaintiff's motion and grant Defendant's motion.

I.

The Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"), conducts a five-step analysis to determine disability:

1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity is not disabled, regardless of the claimant's medical condition.
2. An individual who is working but does not have a "severe" impairment which significantly limits his physical or mental ability to do basic work activities is not disabled.
3. If an individual is not working and has a severe impairment which "meets the duration requirement and is listed in appendix 1 or is equal to a listed impairment(s)", then he is disabled regardless of other factors.
4. If a decision cannot be reached based on current work activity and medical facts alone, and the claimant has a severe impairment, then the Secretary reviews the claimant's residual functional capacity and the physical and mental demands of the claimant's previous work. If the claimant is able to continue to do this previous work, then he is not disabled.
5. If the claimant cannot do any work he did in the past because of a severe impairment, then the Secretary considers his residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience to see if he can do other work. If he cannot, the claimant is disabled.

Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520 (1982)). "The burden of proof is on the claimant throughout the first four steps of this process to prove that he is disabled." Id. "If the analysis reaches the fifth step without a finding that the claimant is not disabled, the burden transfers to the Secretary." Id.

II.

Plaintiff was thirty-seven years of age on his alleged onset date and forty-four years of age on the date of the ALJ's decision (Tr. 11, 35, 187, 191, 230). He had a limited education and past relevant work as a construction worker and mobile home worker (Tr. 35-38, 49-50, 63, 233-41, 257-58, 305). Plaintiff alleged he was disabled due to back problems and manic depression (Tr. 257). He also alleged problems with his left arm beginning in January 2011 (Tr. 277, 290).

Plaintiff filed applications for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits, and Supplemental Security Income on March 17, 2010, alleging he became disabled on January 1, 2005 (Tr. 187, 191, 230). After a hearing, an administrative law judge ("ALJ") issued a decision on February 21, 2012, denying Plaintiff's applications (Tr. 11, 32).

The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's application using the five-step sequential evaluation process (Tr. 15-16). At step one, the ALJ noted evidence indicated Plaintiff had worked since his alleged onset date, but the ALJ found, for the purpose of his decision, that Plaintiff's work activity was not substantial gainful activity (Tr. 16-17). At steps two and three, the ALJ found Plaintiff had severe impairments, but he did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled a listed impairment (Tr. 17). The ALJ then found Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work with additional limitations (Tr. 19). At step four, the ALJ found Plaintiff was unable to perform his past relevant work (Tr. ...


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