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Noble v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Ashland

March 31, 2017

CYNTHIA DAWN NOBLE, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY J. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Joseph M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-Motions for Summary Judgment (DE 11, 12) on Plaintiff's appeal of the Commissioner's denial of her application for disability insurance benefits.[1] The matter having been fully briefed by the parties is now ripe for this Court's review.

         I.

         In determining whether an individual is disabled, an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) uses a five step analysis:

1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity is not disabled, regardless of the claimant's medical condition.
2. An individual who is working but does not have a “severe” impairment which significantly limits his physical or mental ability to do basic work activities is not disabled.
3. If an individual is not working and has a severe impairment which “meets the duration requirement and is listed in appendix 1 or equal to a listed impairment(s)”, then he is disabled regardless of other factors.
4. If a decision cannot be reached based on current work activity and medical facts alone, and the claimant has a severe impairment, then the Secretary reviews the claimant's residual functional capacity and the physical and mental demands of the claimant's previous work. If the claimant is able to continue to do this previous work, then he is not disabled.
5. If the claimant cannot do any work he did in the past because of a severe impairment, then the Secretary considers his residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience to see if he can do other work. If he cannot, the claimant is disabled.

Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Hum. Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994)(citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(1982)).

         II.

         In October 2012, Plaintiff protectively applied for disability insurance benefits pursuant to Title II of the Social Security Act. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-33. Her claim was initially denied on January 2013, then upon reconsideration on February 11, 2013. A written request for hearing was filed on March 11, 2013. On June 18, 2014, a video hearing was convened before Administrative Law Judge Michele M. Kelley (“ALJ”). Plaintiff's application was again denied in the ALJ's decision dated July 2, 2014, and the Appeals Council declined Plaintiff's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the final agency decision for the purposes of judicial review. See 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(a).

         III.

         Plaintiff was 54 years old at the time she allegedly became disabled on August 17, 2012, and 55 years old at the time of the Commissioner's July 2, 2014 final decision that is now before the Court (Tr. 197). Plaintiff has a high school education and previously worked as an administrative assistant, bank teller and loan processor (Tr. 32, 202). In her application materials, Plaintiff ...


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