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Bentley v. Colvin

United States District Court, Eastern District of Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville

March 30, 2015

DEBORAH BENTLEY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CAROLYN COLVIN, COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, DEFENDANT.

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 cliallenge a final decision of the Defendant denying Plaintiffs applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits. The Court having revievved 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 applications for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income benefits on October 19, 2012 and September 12, 2013, alleging disability beginning on March 21, 2012, due to "severe pain in back, pain radiating from lower back down left leg, restless leg syndrome, migraines, arthritis in back, depression, constant nausea and vomiting, severe muscles spasms in lower back, muscle spasms in neck radiates to head, severe pain in neck and shoulders, sinus headaches, cluster headaches, arthritis in hands, arthritis in knees, arthritis in feet, anxiety and recent hernia repairs". (Tr. 181). This application was denied initially and on reconsideration. Thereafter, upon request by Plaintiff, an administrative hearing was conducted by Administrative Law Judge Michele M, Kelley (hereinafter "ALJ"), wherein Plaintiff, accompanied by counsel, testified. At the hearing, Casey Vass, 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.

The ALJ issued a decision finding that Plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 11-21). Plaintiff was 57 years old at the time of the hearing decision. She has completed some college and has past work experience as a human resources manager and recruiter, 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.l3).

The ALJ then determined, at Step 2, that Plaintiff suffers from obesity, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and cervical spine, osteoarthritis of the right hand, depression, anxiety, substance abuse and personality disorder, which he found to be "severe" within the meaning of the Regulations (Tr. 13-14).

At Step 3, the ALJ found that Plaintiffs impairments did not meet or medically equal any of the listed impairments (Tr. 14-16), The ALJ further found that Plaintiff could return to her past relevant work (Tr. 20) and, further, determined that she has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a range of medium work, with certain restrictions, as set forth in the hearing decision (Tr. 16-18).

The ALJ finally concluded that these jobs exist in significant numbers in the national and regional economies, ...


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