United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky
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 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 December 27, 2010, alleging disability beginning on November 2, 2005, due to "post traumatic stress disorder and bipolar" (Tr. 217). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Thereafter, upon request by Plaintiff, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Anne Shaughnessy (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, William J. Kiger, 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 I: 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.
The ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 17-27). Plaintiff was 47 years old at the time of the hearing decision. He has a GED. His past relevant work experience consists of work as a dishwasher, grass cutter and short order cook.
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 (Tr. 19).
At Step 2, the ALJ found Plaintiff had severe impairments of opiate dependence, depression, and anxiety (Tr. 19). At Step 3, the ALJ found Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or equaled a listed impairment (Tr. 20). The ALJ then found Plaintiff had the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: he could understand, remember, and carry out simple tasks with only occasional interaction with coworkers and very little contact with the public (Tr. 21-22). At Step 4, the ALJ found Plaintiff could not perform his past relevant work (Tr. 26). Proceeding to the fifth and final step, the ALJ found Plaintiff could perform the jobs identified by the vocational expert (VE) and was not disabled (Tr. 26-27, 55).
The Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review and adopted the ALJ's decision as the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff thereafter filed this civil action seeking a reversal of the Commissioner's decision. Both parties have filed Motions for Summary ...