United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division
J. CONRAD, JR. UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
MATTER comes before the Court on pro se
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 12);
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 14);
and Defendant's Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 15).
Danny Charles Sneed (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial
review of Nancy A. Berryhill's (“Defendant”
or “Commissioner”) denial of his social security
claim. (Doc. No. 1). On November 19, 2012, Plaintiff filed an
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405 et seq.
(Doc. Nos. 11 to 11-8: Administrative Record at 296).
Plaintiff alleged an inability to work due to disabling
conditions beginning on June 29, 2011. (Id. at 112).
The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's application on
January 9, 2013. (Id. at 48-67). Plaintiff filed a
timely written request for a hearing on April 8, 2013.
(Id. at 112).
October 14, 2014, Plaintiff, accompanied by a non-attorney
representative, participated in and testified at a hearing
before an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”).
(Id. at 112). The ALJ issued a decision on January
7, 2014, denying Plaintiff's claims. (Id. at
109-25). Plaintiff filed a request for review of the
ALJ's decision on or about April 1, 2016, which was
denied by the Appeals Council on October 9, 2015.
(Id. at 13, 1-7). The January 7, 2014 ALJ decision
therefore became the final decision of the Commissioner.
Complaint seeking judicial review and a remand of her case
was filed in this Court on May 26, 2016. (Doc. No. 1).
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 12),
was filed December 2, 2016. Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 14), and Defendant's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 15), were filed February 6,
2017. Plaintiff did not file a response to Defendant's
Motion for Summary Judgment and the time for doing so has
passed. The pending motions are ripe for adjudication.
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff was under a
“disability” as defined for Social Security
purposes, from June 29, 2011 through the date Plaintiff was
last insured, March 31, 2014. (Doc. No. 11-7 at 112). To
establish entitlement to benefits, Plaintiff has the burden
of proving that he was disabled within the meaning of the
Social Security Act. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137,
146 n.5 (1987). The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not
under a disability from June 29, 2011 through March 31, 2014.
(Doc. No. 11-7 at 112-21).
Social Security Administration has established a five-step
sequential evaluation process for determining if a person is
disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). The five steps are:
(1) whether claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity-if yes, not disabled;
(2) whether claimant has a severe medically determinable
physical or mental impairment, or combination of impairments
that meet the duration requirement in § 404.1509-if no,
(3) whether claimant has an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals one of the
listings in appendix 1 and meets the duration requirement-if
(4) whether claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform his or her past relevant