United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Henry R. Wilhoit, 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 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 supplemental security income benefits on March 22, 2010, alleging disability beginning on October 30, 2009, due to degenerative disc disease, heart problems, depression and arthritis (Tr. 200). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration (Tr. 1-4, 5-8). On March 27, 2012, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Maria Hodges (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Dwight McMillion, a vocational expert (hereinafter "VE"), also testified.
At the hearing, pursuant to 20 CF.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 May 9, 2012, the ALJ issued his decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 22-25). Plaintiff was 49 years old at the time of the hearing decision. He has a high school education with a history of special education classes and prior employment as a taxicab driver.
At Step 1 of the sequential analysis, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the date of his application for benefits, March 22, 2010 (Tr.14).
The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from degenerative disc disease, depression, high blood pressure and possible carpal tunnel syndrome, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 14-18).
At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the ...