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Phillips v. Berryhill

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

December 6, 2017

STEPHEN E. PHILLIPS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          COLIN LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff Stephen Phillips (“Plaintiff”) challenges the Commissioner's denial of his claims for disability insurance benefits (“DIB”). (DN 1.) On April 18, 2016, Plaintiff consented to the undersigned's jurisdiction. (DN 5.) For the following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision.

         I. Summary of Facts

         On March 12, 2013, Plaintiff filed an application for DIB. (DN 11-5.) The Commissioner denied his initial application and again upon reconsideration. (DN 11-4, #112, 117.) Plaintiff then appeared for a hearing in front of an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), who later issued an opinion denying Plaintiff's claim. (DN 11-2, #45.) In his written opinion, the ALJ made the following findings.

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security act through December 31, 2017.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 21, 2011, the alleged onset date (20 CFR 404.1571 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: lumbar degenerative disc disease status post discectomy, leg pain, and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1520(d), 404.1525 and 404.1526).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) except the claimant should not climb ladders, ropes or scaffolding. The claimant is able to climb ramps and stairs occasionally, as well as occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. The claimant should not do any repetitive stooping. The claimant should avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, vibrations and hazards. The claimant would need to stand up briefly two to three times an hour.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work (20 CFR 404.1565).
7. The claimant was born on August 27, 1967 and was 44 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on the alleged disability onset date (20 CFR 404.1563).
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 404.1564).
9. 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 the claimant is “not disabled, ” whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills (See SSR 82-41 and 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2).
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant ...

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