United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER
Gregory F. Van Tatenhove United States District Judge
Robinson seeks judicial review of an administrative decision
of the Commissioner of Social Security, which denied his
claim for supplemental security income and disability
insurance benefits. Mr. Robinson brings this action pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), alleging various errors on the
part of the ALJ considering the matter. The Court, having
reviewed the record and for the reasons set forth herein,
will DENY Mr. Robinson's Motion for
Summary Judgment and GRANT the
Clay Robinson filed an application for Title II disability
insurance benefits and Title XVI supplemental security income
on April 16, 2013, alleging disability beginning on December
27, 2012, in both claims. [Transcript (hereinafter,
“Tr.”) 28.] On June 17, 2015, Administrative Law
Judge Jonathan Stanley denied Mr. Robinson disability
benefits. Tr. 25-45. Mr. Robinson appealed this decision, and
on May 2, 2016, the Appeal's Council denied his request
for review. Id. at 1-6.
evaluate a claim of disability for both Title II disability
insurance benefit claims and Title XVI supplemental security
income claims, an ALJ conducts a five-step analysis.
Compare 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520 (disability
insurance benefit claim) with 20 C.F.R. §
416.920 (claims for supplemental security
income). First, if a claimant is performing a
substantial gainful activity, he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(b). Second, if a claimant does not have any
impairment or combination of impairments which significantly
limit his physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities, he does not have a severe impairment and is not
“disabled” as defined by the regulations. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(c). Third, if a claimant's
impairments meet or equal one of the impairments listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1, he is
“disabled.” C.F.R. § 404.1530(d). Before
moving on to the fourth step, the ALJ must use all of the
relevant evidence in the record to determine the
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”), which assesses an individual's
ability to perform certain physical and mental work
activities on a sustained basis despite any impairment
experienced by the individual. See 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(e); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545.
the ALJ must determine whether the claimant has the RFC to
perform the requirements of his past relevant work, and if a
claimant's impairments do not prevent him from doing past
relevant work, he is not “disabled.” 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(e). Fifth, if a claimant's impairments
(considering his RFC, age, education, and past work) prevent
him from doing other work that exists in the national
economy, then he is “disabled.” 20 C.F.R. §
step four of the analysis, “the claimant bears the
burden of proving the existence and severity of limitations
caused by her impairments and the fact that she is precluded
from performing her past relevant work.” Jones v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir.
2003). At step five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner to
identify a significant number of jobs that accommodate the
claimant's profile, but the claimant retains the ultimate
burden of proving his lack of residual functional capacity.
Id.; Jordan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 548
F.3d 417, 423 (6th Cir. 2008).
outset of this case, the ALJ determined that Mr. Robinson met
the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act
through December 31, 2016. Tr. 28, 30; see also 20
C.F.R. § 404.131. Then at step one, ALJ Isaacs found Mr.
Robinson had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since the alleged disability onset date, December 27, 2012.
Tr. 30. At step two, the ALJ found Mr. Robinson to suffer
from the following severe impairments: right sided cerebral
palsy since childhood with right arm and hand contraction;
degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, status post
discectomy and fusion; and degenerative disc disease of the
left shoulder with pain. Id. At step three, the ALJ
determined his combination of impairments did not meet or
medically equal one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404 or Part 416. Id. at 31. Before moving on to
step four, the ALJ considered the record and determined that
Mr. Robinson possessed the following residual functioning
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except he cannot climb ropes,
ladders, and scaffolds; cannot crawl; can occasionally reach
overhead using the dominant left upper extremity; cannot
reach overhead using the non-dominant right upper extremity,
but can frequently reach in all other directions; cannot
handle and finger using the non-dominant right hand, but has
no limitation with regard to use of the dominant left hand;
must avoid concentrated exposure to vibration; cannot work at
unprotected heights or around hazards such as dangerous
machinery with moving mechanical parts.
Id. at 32. After explaining his RFC, the ALJ found
at step four that, based on this RFC, his age, education, and
work experience, there are several jobs in the national
economy that Mr. Goins could perform. Id. at 38-40.
Specifically, the ALJ found:
The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work as a
sales representative, safety apparel and equipment; manager,
professional equipment sales and service. This work does not
require the performance of work-related activities precluded
by the claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR
404.1565 and 416.965).
Id. at 38. Accordingly, the ALJ found at step five
that Mr. Robinson was not disabled from December 27, 2012,
through the date of the decision, pursuant to 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f). Id. at 40.
the unfavorable decision, Mr. Robinson timely appealed to the
Appeals Council. However, the Appeals Council denied review
on May 2, 2016, and Mr. Robinson ...