United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
FINDINGS OF FACT, CONCLUSIONS OF LAW, AND
LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of plaintiff Mary Hodson
(“plaintiff”). In her 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 Fact and Law Summary (DN 15) and supporting
memorandum (DN 15-1). The Commissioner also filed a Fact and
Law Summary (DN 18). Therefore, this matter is ripe for
matter was referred to the undersigned for the preparation of
a report and recommendation. For the reasons set forth below,
the undersigned RECOMMENDS that the final decision of the
Commissioner be AFFIRMED.
FINDINGS OF FACT
protectively filed an application for disability insurance
benefits alleging disability beginning July 23, 2013. (R.
99.) On December 10, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Patrick
Kimberlin (“the ALJ”) conducted a hearing on this
application. Plaintiff attended the hearing along with her
attorney, Christopher Harrell. William Harpool, a vocational
expert, testified at the hearing.
decision dated January 26, 2016, 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 these findings.
1. The claimant meets the insured requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2018. (R. 32.)
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since July 23, 2013, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: history
of breast cancer status/post bilateral mastectomies and
chemotherapy, with residuals; mild cognitive disorder; major
depressive disorder; posttraumatic stress disorder; history
of mild cerebral palsy since birth; panic disorder; and
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 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. (Id. at 33.)
5. The claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 C.F.R. 404.1567(a) with no lifting over 10 pounds; no use
of foot controls or pedals; no use of upper extremities above
shoulder level; no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
no exposure to hazards such as required driving, working at
unprotected heights, or near dangerous machinery; no exposure
to temperature extremes; simple routine job duties and
instructions requiring only occasional work-related contact
with coworkers and supervisors and no contact with the
general public; and no kneeling or crawling and occasional to
all other postural activities. (Id. at 35.)
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(Id. at 42.)
7. The claimant was born on April 3, 1970 and was 43 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual, age 18-44, on
the alleged disability onset date. The claimant subsequently
changed age category to a younger individual age 45-49.
8. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English. (Id.)
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. (Id.)
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that she can perform.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from July 23, 2013 through the
date of this decision. (Id. at 43.)
requested an appeal to the Appeals Council, which denied her
request for review on December 22, 2016. (Id. at 2.)
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).
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
Social Security Act authorizes payment of disability
insurance benefits to persons with disabilities. Social
Security Act, Disability Insurance Benefits, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-34 (2012). An individual shall be considered
disabled if “he is unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which can be expected to result
in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a