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Shannon v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division

March 29, 2018

SAMUEL R. SHANNON, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1] Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          ORDER

          Robert J. Conrad, Jr., United States District Judge.

         THIS MATTER comes before the Court on Samuel R. Shannon's (“Plaintiff's”) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 7), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 8), Nancy A. Berryhill's (“Defendant's or Commissioner's”) Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 9), and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 10).

         I. BACKGROUND

         A. Procedural Background

         Plaintiff seeks judicial review of Defendant's denial of his social security claim. (Doc. No. 1). On September 16, 2013, Plaintiff filed his application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405 et seq. (Doc. Nos. 6 to 6-1: Administrative Record (“Tr.”) at 14). Plaintiff's application was denied initially and upon consideration. (Tr. 89, 94).

         On August 22, 2016, a hearing was held in front an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 28-63). On October 18, 2016, the ALJ issued a decision finding Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 11-23). The Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision on January 12, 2017, making the ALJ's opinion the final decision of Defendant. (Tr. 1-5). Plaintiff now appeals the ALJ's decision, requesting this Court to issue a remand pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §405(g).

         B. Factual Background

         The question before the ALJ was whether the claimant is disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social Security Act. (Tr. 14). 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 ultimately concluded that Plaintiff was not under a disability from July 31, 2013, his alleged onset date, through June 30, 2016, the date Plaintiff was last insured. (Tr. 23).

         The 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, not disabled;
(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 yes, disabled;
(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 ...

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