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Hesler v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Covington

March 3, 2015

ESTEL HESLER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

HENRY R. WILHOIT, Jr., Senior 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 her current application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits on July 12, 2010, alleging disability beginning on October 8, 2008, due to being illiterate (Tr. 188). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On November 29, 2011, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Karen R. Jackson (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Joyce P. Forrest, 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 13, 2012, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 15-23). Plaintiff was 48 years old at the time of the hearing decision. She has a 8th grade education with special education. Her past relevant work experience consists of work as an assembler and maintenance worker.

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. 17).

The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from reading disorder; disorder of written expression; anxiety disorder; borderline intellectual functioning; coronary artery disease, status post stenting of the right coronary artery and left anterior descending artery; and jaw pain, status post multiple surgeries due to a mandible fracture, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 17).

At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the listed impairments (Tr. 17). In doing so, the ALJ specifically considered listings ...


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