United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
DELORIS A. KLUSMEIER, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
REEVES, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
case is before the Court on the Plaintiff's Motion for
Judgment on the Pleadings and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 19
and 20] and the Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment
and Memorandum in Support [Docs. 21 and 22]. Deloris A.
Klusmeier (“the Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review
of the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (“the
ALJ”), and the final decision of the Defendant Carolyn
W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security (“the
February 29, 2012, the Plaintiff filed an application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”), claiming a
period of disability which began March 1, 2000. [Tr. 151-56].
After her application was denied initially and upon
reconsideration, the Plaintiff requested a hearing. [Tr. 95].
On April 28, 2014, a hearing was held before an ALJ to review
determination of Plaintiff's claim. [Tr. 37-59]. On
August 11, 2014, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not
disabled. [Tr. 8-34]. The Appeals Council denied the
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-6]; thus, the
decision of the ALJ became the final decision of the
exhausted her administrative remedies, the Plaintiff filed a
Complaint with this Court on January 20, 2016, seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision
under Section 405(g) of the Social Security Act. [Doc. 1].
The parties have filed competing dispositive motions, and
this matter is now ripe for adjudication.
made the following findings:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since February 29, 2012, the application date (20
CFR 416.971 et seq.).
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
osteoarthritis; degenerative disc disease (DDD); morbid
obesity; dysthymic disorder; post-traumatic stress disorder
(PTSD); social phobia; and rule out borderline intellectual
functioning (BIF) (20 CFR 416.920(c)).
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 CFR Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b). The
claimant can lift and carry, push and pull 20 pounds
occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, with the exception of
occasional pushing and pulling with the right lower
extremity. With normal breaks in an eight-hour day, she can
sit for six hours, and stand and/or walk for six hours; can
occasionally climb ladders, ropes, and scaffolds; can
frequently climb ramps and stairs; and can frequently
balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. The claimant's
far acuity is limited to gross vision, meaning that objects
20 feet away can be blurry. The claimant can understand and
remember for one to three step tasks, can maintain attention
and concentration for at least two hour periods; cannot work
in a public setting, can sustain superficial interaction with
her peers; and can adapt to gradual change.
5. The claimant has no past relevant work (20 CFR 416.965).
6. The claimant was born on June 22, 1971 and was 40 years
old, which is defined as a younger individual age 18-49, on
the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.963).
7. The claimant has at least a high school education and is
able to communicate in English (20 CFR 416.964).
8. Transferability of job skills is not an issue because the
claimant does not have past relevant work (20 CFR 416.968)
9. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform (20 CFR 416.969 and
10. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, since February 29, 2012, the date
the application was filed (20 CFR 416.920(g)).
case involves an application for SSI benefits. To qualify for
SSI benefits, an individual must file an application and be
an “eligible individual” as defined in the Act.
42 U.S.C. § 1382(a); 20 C.F.R. § 416.202. An
individual is eligible for SSI benefits on the basis of
financial need and either age, blindness, or disability.
See 42 U.S.C. § 1382(a).
is “the inability to do 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 twelve months.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R. § 416.905(a).
claimant will only be considered disabled if:
his physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such
severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work
but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy, regardless of
whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.
42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B); see also 20 C.F.R.
is evaluated pursuant to a five-step analysis summarized as
1. If claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, he is
2. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity, his
impairment must be severe before he can be found to be
3. If claimant is not doing substantial gainful activity and
is suffering from a severe impairment that has lasted or is
expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve
months, and his impairment meets or equals a listed
impairment, claimant is presumed disabled without further
4. If claimant's impairment does not prevent him from
doing his past relevant work, he is not disabled.
5. Even if claimant's impairment does prevent him from
doing his past relevant work, if other work exists in the
national economy that accommodates his residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) and vocational factors ...