United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division
WILLIAM P. STAFFORD JR., Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendants.
OPINION AND ORDER
KAREN K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
matter is before the Court for consideration of cross-motions
for summary judgment filed by Plaintiff William P. Stafford
Jr. and Defendant Commissioner of Social Security. (DE 16
& 18.) Stafford brought this action under Section 405(g)
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to
obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Social
Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying
his claim for Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”), as provided under Titles II and XVI of
the Social Security Act (“the Act”). The Court,
having reviewed the record, will affirm the
OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS
determine whether a claimant has a compensable disability
under the Social Security Act, the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) applies a five-step sequential process.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(1), (4); see also Miller v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 81 F.3d 825, 835 n.6 (6th Cir.
2016) (describing the five-step evaluation process). The five
steps, in summary, are:
Step 1: If the claimant is doing substantial gainful
activity, the claimant is not disabled.
Step 2: If the claimant does not have a severe
medically determinable physical or mental impairment-i.e., an
impairment that significantly limits his or her physical or
mental ability to do basic work activities-the claimant is
Step 3: If the claimant is not doing substantial
gainful activity and is suffering from a severe impairment
that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous
period of at least twelve months, and his or her impairment
meets or equals a listed impairment, the claimant is presumed
disabled without further inquiry.
Step 4: If the claimant's impairment does not
prevent him or her from doing his or her past relevant work,
the claimant is not disabled.
Step 5: If the claimant can make an adjustment to
other work, the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant
cannot make an adjustment to other work, the claimant is
Sorrell v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 656 Fed.
App'x. 162, 169 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Rabbers v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 582 F.3d 647, 652 (6th Cir.
any step in the process, the ALJ concludes that the claimant
is or is not disabled, the ALJ can then complete the
“determination or decision and [the ALJ] do[es] not go
on to the next step.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4).
In the first four steps of the process the claimant bears the
burden of proof. Sorrell, 656 Fed. App'x. at 169
(quoting Jones v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. 336 F.3d
469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003)). If the claim proceeds to step
five, however, “the burden shifts to the Commissioner
to identify a significant number of jobs in the economy that
accommodate the claimant's residual functional capacity .
. . and vocational profile.” Id. (internal
citations omitted); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(g)(1).
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Stafford was born in 1965. (Administrative Record
(“AR”) 171.) He is not currently married and
lives with extended family. (AR 34.) He has a high school
education but no additional vocational training. (AR 35.) His
past work experience was as a dump truck and semi
tractor-trailer driver. (AR 58.) He alleges that he is unable
to work due to heart trouble, diabetes, neuropathy, ...