United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
KEVIN L. HOWARD, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S DECISION
HORN BOOM, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on cross-motions for summary
judgment. [R. 13; R. 15]. The Plaintiff, Kevin Howard,
brought this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) to
obtain judicial review of an administrative decision denying
his claim for disability insurance benefits (DIB) and
supplemental security income (SSI). The Court, having
reviewed the record, will affirm the Commissioner's
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied
Howard's claim [Administrative Record (“AR”)
at 9], and the Appeals Council denied his request for review.
[AR at 1] Howard now petitions this Court to review the
decision of the Commissioner. This Court's review of the
Commissioner's decision is limited to determining whether
it “is supported by substantial evidence and was made
pursuant to proper legal standards.” Rabbers v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec., 582 F.3d 647, 651 (6th Cir. 2009).
Although Howard has applied for and been denied benefits
before, the ALJ in the present case has correctly given
Howard's current application a fresh review, as it is for
a new period of time and the record contains new and material
evidence. See Earley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 893
F.3d 929, 933 (6th Cir. 2018).
denying Howard's claim, the ALJ engaged in the five-step
sequential process set forth in the regulations under the
Social Security Act (the “Act”). 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)-(e). See, e.g., Walters v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 127 F.3d 525, 529 (6th Cir. 1997).
one, the ALJ determined that Howard had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since March 26, 2015, the
alleged onset date as amended. [AR at 15]
two, the ALJ determined that Howard suffered from the severe
impairments of colitis, valvular heart disease status post
remote aortic valve replacement with a mechanical valve,
major depressive disorder, and anxiety. Id.
Conversely, the ALJ classified Howard's complaints of
hypertensive disorder, chronic back pain, hernia, insomnia,
and Hepatitis B and C as non-severe impairments. Id.
three, the ALJ found that Howard 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. [AR at 16]
proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined that Howard has
the residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform light work
that does not require climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
crawling; commercial driving; exposure to vibration and
hazards, such as moving mechanical parts and protected
heights; more than occasional climbing ramps and stairs,
stooping, kneeling, or crouching; or concentrated exposure to
temperature extremes. Id. at 18. The ALJ determined
that mentally, Howard can perform simple, routine, repetitive
work that requires occasional work-related decision-making;
adapt to occasional workplace changes that are gradually
introduced; occasionally interact with the public; and
frequently interact with supervisors and coworkers.
four, the ALJ determined that Howard has past relevant work
as a furniture mover, fast food cook, taxi driver, and
assistant manager, but he is unable to perform his past
relevant work as actually or generally performed due to his
current RFC. Id. at 21-22.
five, the ALJ determined that, considering the RFC described
above and Howard's age and work experience, there are
jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national
economy that Howard can perform and, thus, he is not
disabled. Id. at 22.
raises two objections to the ALJ's decision. He first
argues that the ALJ's determination that he is not
disabled is not supported by substantial evidence. [R. 13-1
at p. 14] Second, Howard contends that the ALJ failed to
properly evaluate his subjective complaints of pain.
Id. at 18. The Court agrees with the ALJ's
determinations on both of these issues.
The ALJ's Determination is Supported by ...