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McAninch v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

March 3, 2015

ALANA D. McANINCH, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

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 Plaintiffs application for disability insurance 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 on March 10, 2011, alleging disability beginning on February 28, 2011 due to "COPD, sleep apnea, fibromyalgia, severe migraines, high blood pressure, depression and bipolar" (Tr. 207). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On April 2, 2013, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Jonathon Stanley (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff testified. At the hearing, Mmtha R. Gross, a vocational expert (hereinafter "VE"), also testified.

At the hearing, pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 416.920, the ALJ performed the following fivestep 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 April 19, 2013, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled. Plaintiff was 47 years old at the time she allegedly became disabled on February 28, 2011, and 48 years old at the time she last met the special earnings requirement for DIB (Tr. 177). Plaintiff has the equivalent of a high school education (GED) (Tr. 36), and previously worked as a collections clerk, home health aide, production line welder, fast food worker, and welder assembler (Tr. 60-61).

At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date and her date last insured. (Tr. 16). After a review of the record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had severe physical and mental impairments, but that Plaintiff's complaints of disabling limitations were not fully credible (Tr. 22-23), and that Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity to do light exertion work with additional postural, environmental and mental limitations (Tr. 20; Finding No.5). The ALJ relied on Plaintiff's continuing capacity for light exertion, unskilled work (the least complex type of work) in finding that she was not disabled The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review and adopted the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner on.

Plaintiff thereafter filed this civil action seeking a reversal of the Commissioner's decision. Both parties have filed Motions for Summary Judgment [Docket Nos. 11 ...


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