United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
MARY K. MASTERS, Plaintiff,
NANCY J. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-Motions
for Summary Judgment (DE 12, 14) on Plaintiff's appeal of
the Commissioner's denial of her application for
disability insurance benefits. The matter having been fully
briefed by the parties is now ripe for this Court's
determining whether an individual is disabled, an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) uses a five step
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
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
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. §
filed an application for supplemental security income (SSI),
alleging disability beginning in May 2012 (Tr. 163-66). Her
application was denied initially and on reconsideration (Tr.
84, 99). Thereafter, Plaintiff pursued and exhausted her
administrative remedies before the Commissioner (Tr. 37-83
(hearing), 21-32 (administrative law judge (ALJ) decision),
1-5 (Appeals Council's denial of review of ALJ
decision)). This case is ripe for review pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3).
was 36 years old at the time she filed her application (Tr.
30). She completed college (Tr. 42-43) and worked in the past
as a receptionist and substitute teacher (Tr. 197). She
alleged disability due to migraines, osteoarthritis, fatigue,
back and knee pain, fibromyalgia, painful bladder
(interstitial cystitis) with frequent urination, anemia, and
depression (Tr. 195).
treatment notes show that Plaintiff went to various providers
during the relevant time period (May 2012 (her alleged onset
of disability) through January 2015 (the date of the
ALJ's decision)). Plaintiff saw providers at Family Health
Center approximately once a month throughout the second half
of 2012 for complaints such as face swelling, a urinary tract
infection, congestion, a head injury following a fight, and
bladder problems (Tr. 403-25). Also that year, Plaintiff went
to a physical therapy evaluation for complaints of back and
hip pain (see Tr. 331-38); x-rays of her lumbar
spine were normal on two occasions (Tr. 433, 437) and an
x-ray of her hip was also normal (Tr. 352, 425). She also
went to an orthopedist for complaints of knee pain; x-rays of
both knees were normal and she was given steroid injections
(Tr. 353, 441-46). Plaintiff went to the hospital once in
September 2012 with complaints of a headache; a scan of her
head was normal (Tr. 342-51, 425).
2013, Plaintiff went to the hospital with complaints of
bladder pain, and doctors viewed her bladder with a
cystoscopy (Tr. 477-49). She also returned to Ms. Freeman
once with complaints of depression and hip pain (Tr. 307-12).
The record does not contain any treatment notes showing that