United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Northern Division, Covington
OPINION AND ORDER
K. CALDWELL, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary
judgment filed by Plaintiff Joseph Dale Damron (DE 14) and
Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social
Security (DE 16). Damron brought this action under Section
405(g) of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the Social
Security Administration (“the Commissioner”)
denying his claim for and Supplemental Security Income, as
provided under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. The
Court, having reviewed the record, will affirm the
Overview of the Process
determine whether a claimant has a compensable disability
under the Social Security Act, the administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) applies a five step sequential process.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(1), (4); see also Miller v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 81 F.3d 825, 835 n.6 (6th Cir.
2016) (describing the five-step evaluation process). The five
steps, in summary, are:
Step 1: If the claimant is doing substantial gainful
activity, the claimant is not disabled.
Step 2: If the claimant does not have a severe
medically determinable physical or mental impairment-i.e., an
impairment that significantly limits his or her physical or
mental ability to do basic work activities-the claimant is
Step 3: If the claimant is not doing substantial
gainful activity and is suffering from a severe impairment
that has lasted or is expected to last for a continuous
period of at least twelve months, and his or her impairment
meets or equals a listed impairment, the claimant is presumed
disabled without further inquiry.
Step 4: If the claimant's impairment does not
prevent him or her from doing his or her past relevant work,
the claimant is not disabled.
Step 5: If the claimant can make an adjustment to
other work, the claimant is not disabled. If the claimant
cannot make an adjustment to other work, the claimant is
Sorrell v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 656 F.
App'x. 162, 169 (6th Cir. 2016) (citing Rabbers v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec. Admin., 582 F.3d 647, 652
(6th Cir. 2009)).
any step in the process, the ALJ concludes that the claimant
is or is not disabled, the ALJ can then complete the
“determination or decision and [the ALJ] do[es] not go
on to the next step.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4).
In the first four steps of the process the claimant bears the
burden of proof. Sorrell, 656 F. App'x. at 169
(quoting Jones v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec. 336 F.3d
469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003)). If the claim proceeds to step
five, however, “the burden shifts to the Commissioner
to identify a significant number of jobs in the economy that
accommodate the claimant's residual functional capacity .
. . and vocational profile.” Id. (internal
citations omitted); 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(g)(1).
Factual and Procedural Background
Joseph Damron was born in 1969. (Administrative Record
(“AR”) 42). He has a GED and, prior to his
alleged disability, worked as a carpenter and handyman. (AR
42, 48-49). Damron applied for Supplemental Social Security
Income on September 19, 2013 alleging a disability onset date
of April 6, 2013. (AR 161-70). He claimed he suffered from an
injured right arm, Chrohn's disease, diabetes, a cyst on
his spleen, asthma, and a bad limp in his right leg. (AR
190). Damron's application was denied initially and on
reconsideration. (AR 89-102). Damron then made a timely
request for a hearing before an ALJ. (AR 120-22).
Damron's hearing was held on September 9, 2015 before ALJ
Jonathan Stanley. Damron appeared at the hearing in person,
accompanied by counsel, and testified on his own behalf.