United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington
CORONA K. WEBB, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY Defendant.
MEMORANDUM ORDER AND OPINION
M. Hood United States Senior U.S. District Judge
Corona K. Webb, proceeding pro se, brings this matter under
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial review of an
administrative decision of the Acting Commissioner of Social
Security. The Court, having reviewed the record and the
motions filed by the parties, will AFFIRM
the Commissioner's decision as no legal error occurred
and the decision is supported by substantial evidence.
Standard for Determining Disability
the Social Security Act, a disability is defined as
“inability 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 continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A). In determining disability, an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) uses a five-step analysis.
See Jones v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469,
474 (6th Cir. 2003). Step One considers whether the claimant
is still performing substantial gainful activity; Step Two,
whether any of the claimant's impairments are
“severe”; Step Three, whether the impairments
meet or equal a listing in the Listing of Impairments; Step
Four, whether the claimant can still perform past relevant
work; and, if necessary, Step Five, whether significant
numbers of other jobs exist in the national economy which the
claimant can perform. As to the last step, the burden of
proof shifts from the claimant to the Commissioner.
Id.; see also Preslar v. Sec'y of Health
& Human Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
Procedural and Factual History
initially filed an application for Disability Insurance
Benefits (DIB) in September 2014, alleging disability as
of March 22, 2010, which was later amended to April 2010
based on the date that Webb stopped working. [TR 166, 184].
Webb alleged disability based on the following conditions:
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), fibromyalgia,
degenerative disc disease, severe asthma, insomnia, urinary
incontinence, blurry vision, muscle spasms, pain all over her
body, numbness, and headaches. [TR 184]. Webb's claim for
benefits was denied initially and upon reconsideration. [TR
Webb pursued her claim at a hearing in front of ALJ Bonnie
Kittinger on August 1, 2016. [TR 43-70]. Webb was represented
by attorney Frank Jenkins at the hearing. Webb testified at
the hearing and explained that she could not walk for very
long periods of time due to COPD and asthma. [TR 50].
Additionally, Webb stated that she used oxygen and inhalers
because of these respiratory issues. [TR 51]. Furthermore,
Webb testified that she had pain all over her body and that
she fell often because her balance was off. [TR 52]. Webb
also testified that she had pain in her left knee and ankle
and that she used a breathing machine when sleeping at night.
[TR 52-53, 56]. In addition to Webb's testimony, the ALJ
heard testimony from a vocational expert, Dr. Rogers. [TR
October 5, 2016, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. [TR
11-20]. The ALJ found that Webb suffered from the following
severe impairments: COPD, degenerative disc disease,
hypertension, and fibromyalgia. [TR 14]. Still, the ALJ
determined that Webb had the residual function capacity to
perform sedentary work with certain limitations. [TR 15].
Finally, after taking the vocational expert's testimony
into account, the ALJ found that Webb could perform past
semiskilled relevant work as a receptionist or telephone
solicitor. [TR 19]. On October 13, 2017, the Appeals Council
denied review. [TR 1-6].
December 12, 2017, Webb pursued judicial review of the
Commissioner's decision by filing this appeal. [DE 1]. In
its entirety, Webb's complaint says, “My name [is]
Corona K. Webb and I am suing [the] United States Social
Security Office, for my disability of appeal (sic), of
Commissioner of Social Security (sic).” [DE 1 at 1,
Page ID # 1]. On February 16, 2018, Webb filed a pro se
motion for disability reevaluation, which states,
“During trial, judge and disability examiner were more
concerned with previous job habits rather than severity of
health disabilities. Exertional requirements [and] residual
function capacity [were] not established. Examiner did not
present nor analyze certain factors from medical evidence
records concerning impairments.” [DE 8 at 2, Page ID #
18]. The Commissioner answered Webb's complaint on April
20, 2018. [DE 11, 11-1].
April 23, 2018, the Court issued a standard scheduling order
requiring Webb to move for summary judgment or judgment on
the pleadings within sixty days of the Commissioner filing an
answer and certifying a copy of the transcript of the
administrative record. [DE 12]. The scheduling order required
the Commissioner to file a counter-motion or response within
thirty days of Webb filing a motion for summary judgment or
judgment on the pleadings. [Id.].
filed a letter styled as a motion for reconsideration and
approval of dire need disability benefits on June 22, 2018.
[DE 13]. Webb's letter largely reiterated her previous
motion, stating, “The case was erroneously denied
because focus was only on previous job history and not on
physical status.” [DE 13 at 1, Page ID # 1307]. Webb
attached a list of medical conditions [DE 13-1] and a
physician's note from Dr. Debra Tallo from a visit on
March 20, 2018, [DE 13-2] to her motion.
response, the Commissioner moved for summary judgment on July
23, 2018. [DE 15]. On September 4, 2018, Webb moved for an
extension of time to respond to Commissioner's motion for
summary judgment. [DE 16]. The Court granted Webb's
motion and required Webb to move for summary judgment or
otherwise respond to Commissioner's motion for summary
judgment on or before October 15, 2018. [DE 17].
October 19, 2018, Webb filed a two-page letter in response
reiterating her previous claims and asking for reevaluation
of the Commissioner's decision. [DE 18]. Webb attached
medical records as an exhibit to her response. [DE 18-1].
Since the Commissioner has moved for summary judgment and
Webb has responded, this case is ripe for review.