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Moses v. Berryhill

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Central Division, Lexington

June 10, 2019

MILDRED MOSES Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUMN OPINION & ORDER

          MATTHEW A. STINNETT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment [DEs 17, 19] concerning Plaintiff Mildred Moses's (“Moses”) appeal of the Nany A. Berryhill's, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”), denial of her application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income. [DE 12-1, at Page ID # 55-66].[1] For the reasons stated below, the Court denies Moses's motion and grant Defendant's motion.

         I. OVERVIEW OF THE PROCESS AND THE INSTANT MATTER

         In determining disability under the Social Security Act, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”), conducts a five-step analysis:

1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity is not disabled, regardless of the claimant's medical condition.
2. An individual who is working but does not have a “severe” impairment which significantly limits his physical or mental ability to do basic work activities is not disabled.
3. If an individual is not working and has a severe impairment which “meets the duration requirement and is listed in appendix 1 or is equal to a listed impairment(s)”, then he is disabled regardless of other factors.
4. If a decision cannot be reached based on current work activity and medical facts alone, and the claimant has a severe impairment, then the Secretary reviews the claimant's residual functional capacity and the physical and mental demands of the claimant's previous work. If the claimant is able to continue to do this previous work, then he is not disabled.
5. If the claimant cannot do any work he did in the past because of a severe impairment, then the Secretary considers his residual functional capacity, age, education, and past work experience to see if he can do other work. If he cannot, the claimant is disabled.

Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Hum. Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520 (1982)). “The burden of proof is on the claimant throughout the first four steps of this process to prove that he is disabled.” Id. “If the analysis reaches the fifth step without a finding that the claimant is not disabled, the burden transfers to the Secretary.” Id.

         In the case at bar, the ALJ concluded Moses had not engaged in substantial activity since September 28, 2015, thus satisfying step one. [DE 12-1 at Page ID # 57 ]. Under step two, the ALJ found Moses had the following severe impairments: history of right inguinal hernia, status-post inguinal hernia repair; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease; major depressive disorder/depressive disorder, not otherwise specified; anxiety disorder, not otherwise specified; and post-traumatic stress disorder. [Id. at 36]; 20 CFR 416.920(c). Regarding step three, the ALJ determined that Moses did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1. [DE 12-1 at Page ID # 58]; 20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925, 416.926.

         At step four the ALJ concluded Moses had a residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(c). [DE 12-1 at Page ID # 59]. Moses can lift or carry and push or pull 50 pounds occasionally and 25 pounds frequently. [Id.]. Moses can also stand and walk six hours in an eight-hour workday and she can sit six hours in an eight hour workday. [Id.]. She is limited to frequently stooping, however, and must avoid concentrated exposure to temperature extremes, humidity, fumes, odor, dust, gases, and poor ventilation. [Id.]. Moses can perform simple routine work tasks and she can maintain attention and concentration for two-hour segments during an eight-hour workday. [Id.]. Further, the ALJ found that Moses was able to adapt to gradual changes in a routine work environment as well as interact frequently with supervisors and coworkers sufficiently with occasional interaction with the general public. [Id.].

         Under step five, and considering the Moses's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ opined that there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that the she could perform. [DE 12-1 at Page ID # 65]; 20 CFR 416.969.

         II. STAND ...


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