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Robinson v. Social Security Administration

United States District Court, M.D. Tennessee, Cookeville Division

March 2, 2018

DAVID LEE ROBINSON, JR., Plaintiff,
v.
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

          HONORABLE ALETA A. TRAUGER JUDGE.

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION TO DENY PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR JUDGMENT ON THE RECORD [17]

          DAVID R. GRAND UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Plaintiff David Lee Robinson, Jr. (“Robinson”) brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), challenging the final decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”) denying his application for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act (the “Act”). On April 24, 2017, Robinson filed a Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record and a Memorandum in Support. (Docs. #17, 18). On May 12, 2017, the Commissioner filed a response in opposition to Robinson's motion. (Doc. #19). This matter has been referred to this Court for a Report and Recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B). (Doc. #16).

         I. RECOMMENDATION

         For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that substantial evidence supports the Administrative Law Judge's (“ALJ”) conclusion that Robinson is not disabled under the Act. Accordingly, the Court recommends that Robinson's Motion for Judgment on the Administrative Record (Doc. #17) be DENIED, and that, pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), the ALJ's decision be AFFIRMED.

         II. REPORT

         A. Procedural History

         On January 1, 2013, Robinson filed an application for SSI, alleging disability as of March 30, 2010.[1] (Tr. 151-57). This application was denied initially on April 12, 2013, and on reconsideration on June 28, 2013. (Tr. 104-06, 111-12). Robinson filed a timely request for an administrative hearing, which was held on February 11, 2015, before ALJ K. Dickson Grissom. (Tr. 54-72). Robinson, who was represented by attorney Donna Simpson, testified at the hearing, as did vocational expert J. D. Flynn. (Id.). On April 17, 2015, the ALJ issued a written decision finding that Robinson is not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 39-49). On June 11, 2016, the Appeals Council denied review. (Tr. 14-19). Robinson timely filed for judicial review of the final decision on September 27, 2016. (Doc. #1).

         B. Framework for Disability Determinations

         Under the Act, SSI is available only for those who have a “disability.” See Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir. 2007). The Act defines “disability” as 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 12 months.

42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Commissioner's regulations provide that a disability is to be determined through the application of a five-step sequential analysis:

(i) At the first step, we consider your work activity, if any. If you are doing substantial gainful activity, we will find that you are not disabled.
(ii) At the second step, we consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you do not have a severe medically determinable physical or mental impairment that meets the duration requirement … or a combination of impairments that is severe and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are not disabled.
(iii) At the third step, we also consider the medical severity of your impairment(s). If you have an impairment(s) that meets or equals one of our listings in appendix 1 of this subpart and meets the duration requirement, we will find that you are disabled.
(iv) At the fourth step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your past relevant work. If you can still do your past relevant work, we will find that you are not disabled.
(v) At the fifth and last step, we consider our assessment of your residual functional capacity and your age, education, and work experience to see if you can make an adjustment to other work. If you can make an adjustment to other work, we will find that you are not disabled. If you cannot ...

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