United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, Pikeville
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Hood Senior U.S. District Judge.
matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-Motions
for Summary Judgment (DEs 7 and 9) on Plaintiff's appeal
of the Commissioner's denial of her application for
Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB). The matter having been fully
briefed by the parties is now ripe for this Court's
review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Overview of the Process and the Instant Matter
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 Disability Insurance Benefits (DIB),
alleging disability beginning January 28, 2013 (Tr. 223). The
application was denied initially and on reconsideration (Tr.
99, 100), and by an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) after two
hearings (Tr. 72-81, 82-98). The Appeals Council declined
Plaintiff's request for review (Tr. 1-6), making the
ALJ's October 14, 2015 decision the final agency decision
for purposes of judicial review (Tr. 56-71). 20 C.F.R. §
422.210(a). This appeal followed.
was 49 years old at the time she allegedly became disabled on
January 28, 2013, and 52 years old at the time of the
Commissioner's October 14, 2015 final decision (Tr. 223).
Plaintiff has the equivalent of a high school education (GED)
(Tr. 240), and past relevant work as an assistant store
manager, store manager, and dental office receptionist (Tr.
77-78, 97, 240). In her application materials, Plaintiff
alleged she became unable to work due to back and wrist
conditions (Tr. 239).
has restricted her arguments to the ALJ's physical
residual functional capacity assessment. Plaintiff's
Brief (Pl.'s Br.) at 7-12. Therefore, it is unnecessary