United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
CRETIA D. SIZEMORE, PLAINTIFF,
CAROLYN COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
HENRY R. WILHOLT
JR., UNITED STATES 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 February 3, 2011, alleging disability beginning on August 4, 2010, due to herniated disc (Tr. 173). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On August 20, 2012, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Roger L. Reynolds (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Betty Hale, 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 August 31, 2012, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 22-29). Plaintiff was years old on the alleged onset date. She has a limited education and can communicate in English. She has worked as a hand packager.
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. 24).
The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from chronic neck and low back pain secondary to degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine, with disc bulges at the L4/L5 and L5/S1 levels; bilateral shoulder pain; and a history of right elbow epicondylitis, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr, 24).
At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or medically equal an)' of the ...