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Montgomery v. Commissioner of Social Security

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

March 29, 2019

STEPHANIE L. MONTGOMERY, Plaintiff,
v.
COMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          COLIN H LINDSAY, MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Before the Court is the Complaint (DN 1) of Plaintiff, Stephanie Montgomery (“Montgomery”). In her Complaint, Montgomery seeks judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision denying her supplemental security income (“SSI”). See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2017). Montgomery filed her Fact and Law Summary on February 12, 2018, and the Commissioner filed a Fact and Law Summary on May 11, 2018. (DNs 14, 19.) 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 20.) Therefore, this matter is ripe for review.

         For the reasons set forth below, the final decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Montgomery filed an application for SSI on February 25, 2016.[1] (DN 12-5, at PageID # 292-93.) In her application, Montgomery alleged disability beginning June 1, 2006. (Id. at 292.) On April 27, 2017, Administrative Law Judge John Price (the “ALJ”) conducted a hearing on Montgomery's application. (DN 12-2, at PageID # 80-113.) In his decision dated June 7, 2017, the ALJ engaged in the five-step evaluation process promulgated by the Commissioner to determine whether an individual is disabled. (Id. at 61-73.) In doing so, the ALJ made the following findings:

1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since February 24, 2016, the application date. (Id. at 66.)
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments: lymphedema of the right upper extremity status post mastectomy, bipolar disorder, obesity, and borderline intellectual functioning. (Id.)
3. The claimant 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 67.)
4. [T]he claimant has residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b) except the claimant should not engage in overhead reaching. The claimant is capable of frequent but not constant gross manipulation or handling. The claimant is limited to simple, routine tasks with little to no change in the work routine from day to day. The claimant is limited to work with little to no judgment required. The claimant is limited to work in a low stress setting with no fast-paced production rate demands or quotas. The claimant should avoid contact with the general public and she is limited to occasional, superficial interaction with coworkers and supervisors. (Id. at 69.)
5. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work. (Id. at 72.)
6. The claimant was born on October 6, 1967 and was 48 years old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on the date the application was filed. (Id.)
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is able to communicate English. (Id.)
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue in this case because the claimant's past relevant work is unskilled. (Id.)
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant No. in the national economy that the claimant can perform. (Id.)
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since February 24, 2016, the date the application was filed. (Id. at 73.)

         Montgomery requested review by the Appeals Council, which denied her request on August 16, 2017. (Id. at 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) (discussing finality of the Commissioner's decision). Pursuant to 20 C.F.R. § 422.210(c), Montgomery is presumed to have received that decision ...


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