United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Louisville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Lindsay, Magistrate Judge
the Court is the complaint (DN 1) of plaintiff Victor Manuel
Hernandez-Matta (“plaintiff”). In his 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).
The Commissioner also filed a Fact and Law Summary (DN 21).
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate
judge to enter judgment in this case with direct review by
the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in the event an appeal is
filed (DN 14.) Therefore, this matter is ripe for review. For
the reasons set forth below, the final decision of the
Commissioner is affirmed.
protectively filed an application for disability insurance
benefits on June 24, 2013 and for supplemental social
security income on February 6, 2015. (R. 14, 96, 113.) In
both applications, plaintiff alleged disability beginning on
January 1, 2010; plaintiff later amended his alleged onset
date to February 28, 2015. (Id. at 14.)
23, 2016, Administrative Law Judge Steven Collins (“the
ALJ”) conducted a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky.
Plaintiff appeared via video teleconference and was
represented by John Sharpensteen. Linda Jones, a vocational
expert, also testified at the hearing. In a decision dated
November 2, 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
Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2019. (Id. at 16.)
Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since February 28, 2015, the alleged onset date.
Plaintiff has the following severe impairments: morbid
obesity; degenerative disc disease; sleep apnea;
anxiety/depression; peripheral vascular disease; asthma;
hypertension; hypertensive heart disease; and chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease. (Id.)
Plaintiff 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 17.)
Plaintiff has the residual functioning capacity
(“RFC”) to perform sedentary work except
occasional lifting/carrying up to twenty pounds and frequent
lifting/carrying up to ten pounds. Plaintiff would sit six of
eight hours and stand/walk two of eight hours. Plaintiff
could occasionally use the lower extremities for pushing and
pulling. Plaintiff could occasionally climb ramps and stairs
but never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. Plaintiff could
occasionally stoop, kneel, and crouch, but never crawl.
Plaintiff could frequently balance. Plaintiff should avoid
concentrated exposure to extremes of heart and pulmonary
irritants to include fumes, odors, dust, gases, and poor
ventilation. Plaintiff should avoid all exposure to hazards
including unprotected heights and dangerous machinery.
Plaintiff could frequently handle with the bilateral upper
extremities. Plaintiff cannot drive. Plaintiff has the
ability for frequent cervical flexion with the neck.
Plaintiff is capable of simple, routine tasks involving
simple work related decisions with few, if any, work place
changes. Plaintiff cannot perform fast-paced production
requirements. Plaintiff can have occasional contact with
supervisors and coworkers, but no contact with public.
(Id. at 19.)
Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work.
(Id. at 26.)
Plaintiff was born on September 15, 1970 and was 44 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 45-49, on
the alleged disability onset date. (Id.)
Plaintiff has at least a high school education and is able to
communicate in English. (Id.)
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 plaintiff has transferable job skills. (Id.)
Considering plaintiff's age, education, work experience,
and RFC, there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in
the national economy that he can perform. (Id.)
Plaintiff has not been under a disability, as defined in the
Social Security Act, from February 28, 2015, through the date
of this decision. (Id. at 27.)
timely requested an appeal to the Appeals Council on or about
November 23, 2016. (Id. at 9-10.) On January 17,
2017, the Appeals Council denied plaintiff's request for
review. (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). Plaintiff filed this action on
March 9, 2017.