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Basham v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

March 27, 2019

TINA M. BASHAM, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          COLIN H. LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

         Before the Court is the Complaint (DN 1) of Plaintiff, Tina M. Basham (“Basham”), challenging the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the “Commissioner”) denying her claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). Basham filed her Fact and Law Summary on March 26, 2018, and the Commissioner filed a Fact and Law Summary on June 25, 2018. (DNs 13, 18.) The 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 12.) Therefore, this matter is ripe for review.

         For the reasons stated herein, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Basham filed an application for SSI on February 28, 2014. (DN 10-5, at PageID # 190-93.) Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Marci P. Eaton conducted a hearing on Basham's application on August 16, 2016. (DN 10-2, at PageID # 68-94.) In a decision dated November 7, 2016, the ALJ engaged in the five-step sequential evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner to determine whether Basham was disabled. (Id. at 53-63.) In doing so, the ALJ made these findings:

         1. The claimant last met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act on March 31, 2013. (Id. at 58.)

         2. The claimant did not engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from her alleged onset date of June 1, 2010, through her date last insured of March 31, 2013. (Id.)

         3. Through the date last insured, the claimant had the following severe impairments: history of myocardial infarction with residual ischemic heart disease; osteoarthrosis in bilateral lower extremities; diabetes mellitus; psoriasis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). (Id.)

         4. Through the date last insured, the claimant did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Id.)

         5. [T]hrough the date last insured, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except she can frequently climb ramps or stairs. She can occasionally climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She can frequently stoop. She can occasionally kneel, crouch, or crawl. She should avoid concentrated exposure to extreme cold or heat. (Id. at 59.)

         6. Through the date last insured, the claimant was capable of performing past relevant work as a community health worker. This work did not require the performance of work-related activities precluded by the claimant's residual functional capacity. (Id. at 62.)

         7. The claimant was not under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, at any time from June 1, 2010, the alleged onset date, through March 31, 2013, the date last insured. (Id.)

         Basham requested review by the Appeals Council, which denied her request for review on August 19, 2017. (Id. at PageID # 47-49.) At that point, the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 422.210(a) (2018); see also 42 U.S.C. § 405(h) (2017) (discussing finality of the Commissioner's decision). Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(c), Basham is presumed to have received that decision five days later on August 24, 2017. 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(c). Plaintiff filed this action on October 17, 2017. (DN 1.)

         II. DISCUSSION

         The Social Security Act authorizes payments of disability insurance benefits and SSI to persons with disabilities. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 - 434, 1381-1383f (2017). An individual shall be considered “disabled” if he or she is unable “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. § 1382c(a)(3)(A); see also 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a) (2018).

         A. ...


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