United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville
case is before the undersigned pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b), Rule 72(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
and the consent of the parties [Doc. 18]. Now before the
Court is the Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment and
Memorandum in Support [Docs. 15 & 16] and the
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment and Memorandum in
Support [Docs. 21 & 22]. Deanna Gaye Williams (“the
Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review of the decision of
the Administrative Law Judge (“the ALJ”), the
final decision of the Defendant Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting
Commissioner of Social Security (“the
21, 2012, the Plaintiff filed an application for disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental
security income (“SSI”), claiming a period of
disability which began June 1, 2012. [Tr. 189-201]. After her
application was denied initially and upon reconsideration,
the Plaintiff requested a hearing. [Tr. 140-144, 148-154]. On
July 3, 2014, a hearing was held before the ALJ to review
determination of the Plaintiff's claim. [Tr. 46-77]. On
September 18, 2014, the ALJ found that the Plaintiff was not
disabled. [Tr. 28-45]. The Appeals Council denied the
Plaintiff's request for review [Tr. 1-5]; 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 February 16, 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 meets the insure status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2016.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 1, 2012, the alleged onset date (20 CFR
404.1571 et seq., and 416.971 et seq.).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
osteoarthritis, neuropathy, and mild degenerative disc
disease (20 CFR 404, 1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
4. 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 404.1520(d), 404.1525, 404.1526,
416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). She can occasionally perform
all postural activities, except she can never climb ladders,
ropes or scaffolds.
6. The claimant is capable of performing past relevant work
as an administrative assistant, an office manager, and a real
estate property manager. This work does not require the
performance of work-related activities precluded by the
claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR 404.1565
7. The claimant has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from June 1, 2012, through the
date of this decision (20 CFR 404.1520(f) and 416.920(f)).
case involves an application for DIB and SSI benefits. An
individual qualifies for DIB if he or she: (1) is insured for
DIB; (2) has not reached the age of retirement; (3) has filed
an application for DIB; and (4) is disabled. 42 U.S.C. §
423(a)(1). 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. §
is the “inability 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 twelve months.” 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1505(a), 416.905(a). 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. §§ 423(d)(2)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(B);
see 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505(a), 415.905(a).
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