United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
ANITA LYNN STAMPER, executor of the estate of Michael Lane Hatton, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. 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 9, 10) on Plaintiff's appeal of
the Commissioner's denial of an 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. §
16, 2012, Plaintiff's decedent, Michael Lane Hatton,
filed an application for disability insurance benefits (DIB),
alleging that he became disabled on July 15, 2002 (Tr.
12).Hatton's application was denied, and he
pursued and exhausted his administrative remedies before the
Commissioner (Tr. 1-5 (Appeals Council decision), 12-22 (ALJ
hearing decision), 27-64 (administrative hearing)). This case
is ripe for review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
case is unique in that Hatton first approached his local
Social Security office concerning benefits a number of years
after he stopped working (Tr. 31, 226). His “last
insured” date for the purposes of his application was
June 30, 2007 (Tr. 12). To be entitled to DIB, a claimant
must be “under a disability” within the meaning
of the Social Security Act as of the date his insured status
expired. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i),
423(c)(1); Higgs v. Bowen, 880 F.2d 860, 862 (6th
Cir. 1988). Therefore, Hatton was required to show that he
was disabled as of June 30, 2007. See 42 U.S.C.
§§ 416(i), 423(c)(1).
63 years old at the time of the Commissioner's final
decision on July 16, 2014, and 56 on the date his insured
status expired (Tr. 66 (date of birth)). He graduated from
high school and previously worked as a machine operator