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Blandford v. Berryhill

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

March 2, 2018

CURTIS A. BLANDFORD, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Colin Lindsay, Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff Curtis Blandford (“Blandford”) appeals the Commissioner's decision denying his application for supplemental security income (“SSI”) benefits. (DN 9, #347.) On January 6, 2017, Blandford consented to the undersigned's jurisdiction. (DN 8.) For the reasons stated below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision.

         I. Statement of Facts

         Blandford filed his application for SSI on July 22, 2013. (DN 9, #347.) His application was initially denied in October 2013 and again upon reconsideration. (Id.) Blandford, his attorney, and his mother appeared before Administrative Law Judge Dwight Wilkerson (“ALJ”) for a hearing in July 2015. (DN 6-2, #59.) The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision in August 2015. (Id. at 38.) In his written opinion, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since July 22, 2013, the application date (20 CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: schizoaffective disorder bipolar type, mood disorder, anxiety, and history of substance abuse (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
3. 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 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926(a).
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels, but with the following nonexertional limitations: he can understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions and consistently perform routine tasks on a sustained basis with normal supervision. He is able to tolerate occasional, superficial interactions with coworkers and supervisors in a work environment without public contact, fast pace, or more than occasional changes. He is limited to being in the presence of no more than a few familiar others.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on June 29, 1989 and was 24 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968).
9. 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 can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and 416.969(a)).
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since July 22, 2013, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).

(DN 6-2, #43-52.) The Appeals Council subsequently denied Blanford's request for review. (Id. at 27.)

         II. Standard of Review

         The Social Security Act authorizes payment of SSI to persons with disabilities. 42 U.S.C. §' 401 et seq. (Title II Disability Insurance Benefits), 1381 et seq. (Title XVI Supplemental Security Income). The term “disability” is defined as follows:

[An i]nability 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 ...

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