United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
BRENDA R. JOHNSON, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Judge.
MATTER comes before the Court on Brenda R.
Johnson's (“Plaintiff's”) Motion for
Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 11), and Memorandum in Support,
(Doc. No. 11-1), and Defendant's Motion for Summary
Judgment, (Doc. No. 12), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No.
seeks judicial review of Defendant's denial of his social
security claim. (Doc. No. 1). On April 2, 2013, Plaintiff
filed her 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. No. 9: Administrative Record
(“Tr.”) at 170-76). In her application, Plaintiff
alleged an onset date of July 1, 2008. (Tr. 170).
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon
consideration. (Tr. 27).
14, 2015, a hearing was held in front of an Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 44-68). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was represented by counsel and testimony was
solicited from a vocational expert (“VE”). On
July 14, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff
not disabled. (Tr. 27-39). The Appeals Council denied review
of the ALJ's decision on January 19, 2017, making the
ALJ's opinion the final decision of Defendant. (Tr. 1-3).
In its denial, the AC considered new evidence submitted by
Plaintiff but stated that the new information was about a
later time and therefore did not affect the ALJ's
determination. (Tr. 2). Plaintiff now appeals the ALJ's
decision, requesting this Court to issue a remand pursuant to
42 U.S.C. §405(g).
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff was under a
“disability” as that term of art is defined for
Social Security purposes, between July 1, 2008,
Plaintiff's alleged onset date, and December 31, 2013,
the date Plaintiff was last insured. (Tr. 27). To establish
entitlement to benefits, Plaintiff has the burden of proving
that she was disabled within the meaning of the Social
Security Act. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S.
137, 146 n.5 (1987). The ALJ ultimately concluded that
Plaintiff was not under a disability at any point in the
relevant timeframe. (Tr. 38-39).
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
work-if yes, not disabled; and
(5) whether considering claimant's RFC, age, education,
and work experience he or she can make an adjustment to other