United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
BRUCE H. HONEYCUTT, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
J. Conrad, Jr. United States District Judge
MATTER comes before the Court on Plaintiff's
Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 10); Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 11); Defendant's Motion
for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 12); and Defendant's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 13). The motions are ripe
H. Honeycutt (“Plaintiff”) seeks judicial review
of Nancy A. Berryhill's (“Defendant” or
“Commissioner”) denial of his social security
claim. Plaintiff filed an application for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits an on March 27,
2013, alleging an onset date of May 21, 2011. (Doc. Nos. 9 to
9-2: Administrative Record (“Tr.”) at 55,
138-141). His applications were denied first on July 10,
2013, and again on November 7, 2013 upon reconsideration.
(Tr. 22, 69, 79). Plaintiff filed a timely request for a
hearing on December 18, 2013, (Tr. 87), and an administrative
hearing was held by an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) for the Social Security Administration on
September 9, 2015. (Id. at 524-50).
this hearing, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled.
(Id. 22-37). Plaintiff requested a review of the
ALJ's decision on December 2, 2015, (Tr. 17-18), but on
December 13, 2016, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for a review. (Id. at 1-5). Plaintiff
exhausted his administrative remedies and this case is now
before the Court for disposition of the parties'
cross-motions for summary judgment. Plaintiff's Motion
for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No. 10), and Plaintiff's
Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 11), were filed on July 14,
2017. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment, (Doc. No.
12) and Memorandum in Support, (Doc. No. 13), were filed on
September 12, 2017.
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff was disabled
under sections 216(i), 223(d) of the Social Security Act
(“SSA”). (Tr. 22). To establish entitlement to
benefits, Plaintiff has the burden of proving that he was
disabled within the meaning of the SSA. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n5 (1987). Plaintiff alleges
that his disability began on May 21, 2011 due to Hepatitis C;
depression; anxiety; diabetes, abdominal pain; neuropathy;
suicidal ideations, hallucination, and hearing voices; severe
joint and body pain; damage to the liver; and lack of sleep.
reviewing Plaintiff's record and conducting a hearing,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not suffer from a disability
as defined in the SSA. (Tr. 33). In reaching his conclusion,
the ALJ used the five-step sequential evaluation process
established by the Social Security Administration for
determining if a person is disabled. 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