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Wade v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division

October 16, 2017

JOHN P. WADE, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Colin Lindsay, Magistrate Judge.

         Before the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of plaintiff John P. Wade (“plaintiff”). In his complaint, plaintiff seeks judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (“the Commissioner”). See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2012) (“Any individual, after any final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security . . . may obtain a review of such decision by a civil action commenced within sixty days after the mailing to him of notice of such decision . . . .”). Plaintiff filed a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (DN 17) and supporting memorandum (DN 17-1), as well as a Fact and Law Summary (DN 17-2). The Commissioner also filed a Fact and Law Summary (DN 23).

         The parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to enter judgment in this case with direct review by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is filed (See DN 8.) Therefore, this matter is ripe for review. For the reasons set forth below, the final decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff filed an application for supplemental social security benefits on June 24, 2013, alleging an amended disability onset date of June 24, 2013. (Tr. 61-62, 161.) On April 28, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Dwight Wilkerson (“the ALJ”) conducted a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky. (Id. at 32.) Plaintiff was present and represented by counsel Shawnee Franklin. (Id.) William Irvin, a vocational expert, also testified at the hearing. (Id.) In a decision dated May 29, 2015, the ALJ engaged in the five-step evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner to determine whether an individual is disabled. In doing so, the ALJ made the following findings.

1. Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 24, 2013, the application date. (Id. at 22.)
2. Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, osteoarthritis, insulin dependent diabetes, and hypertension. (Id.)
3. Plaintiff does not have impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.)
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, the ALJ found that plaintiff has the residual functioning capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 416.967(b) except no climbing of ladders, ropes, and scaffolding and only occasional climbing of ramps and stairs, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling. Plaintiff can occasionally reach overhead with the right upper extremity. (Id. at 23.)
5. Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work. (Id. at 26.)
6. Plaintiff was born on September 17, 1961 and was 51 years old, which is defined as an individual closely approaching advanced age, on the date the application was filed. (Id.)
7. Plaintiff has a limited education and is able to communicate in English. (Id.)
8. Transferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that plaintiff is “not disabled, ” whether or not plaintiff has transferable job skills. (Id.)
9. Considering plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that plaintiff can perform. (Id.)
10. Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since June 24, 2013, the date the application was filed. (Id. at 27.)

         Plaintiff timely requested an appeal to the Appeals Council on or about July 15, 2015. (Id. at 16.) On June 10, 2016, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for review. (Id. at 1.) At that point, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 422.210(a); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(h) (discussing finality of the Commissioner's decision). Plaintiff timely filed this action on February August 11, 2016.

         II. ...


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