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Shaw v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration

United States District Court, Sixth Circuit

September 5, 2013

KELEE M. SHAW, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

KENNETH S. McHARGH, Magistrate Judge.

This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the consent of the parties. (Doc. 11). The issue before the Court is whether the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security (the "Commissioner") denying Plaintiff Kellee M. Shaw's application for a Period of Disability and Disability Insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i) and 423, is supported by substantial evidence, and therefore, conclusive.

For the reasons set for the below, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the Commissioner.

I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

On March 11, 2009, Plaintiff Kellee M. Shaw ("Plaintiff" or "Shaw") applied for a Period of Disability Insurance benefits. (Tr. 12, 63, 126-29). Shaw alleged that she became disabled on March 11, 2009, due to a tailbone injury (coccyx disorder), myalgia, and myositis (nos) (Tr. 161, 165). Plaintiff's application for Disability Insurance benefits was denied initially and on reconsideration. (Tr. 63, 64, 65-68, 73-75). Plaintiff filed a written request for a hearing before an administrative law judge on November 20, 2009. (Tr. 80). The Commissioner granted Plaintiff's request and scheduled a hearing. (Tr. 93).

On December 16, 2010, Administrative Law Judge Julia Terry ("the ALJ") convened a hearing to evaluate Shaw's case. (Tr. 29-62). Plaintiff, represented by counsel, appeared and testified before the ALJ. ( Id. ). Gene Berkhammer, a vocational expert ("the VE"), also appeared and testified. ( Id. ). On January 14, 2011, the ALJ issued her decision in which, after applying the five-step sequential analysis, [1] she concluded Shaw was not disabled. (Tr. 9-23).

Following the issuance of this ruling, Plaintiff sought review of the ALJ's decision from the Appeals Council. (Tr. 7-8). However, the council denied Plaintiff's request, thus rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff now seeks judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. Review is proper pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

II. PERSONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Shaw was born on February 9, 1964 and was 45 years old on her alleged onset date. (Tr. 63). Accordingly, Plaintiff was at all times considered a "younger individual" for Social Security purposes. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c). In the past, Plaintiff has worked as a fast food manager and as a retail cashier. (Tr. 37-38).

III. ALJ's RULING

The ALJ made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law in her application of the five-step analysis:

1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through September 20, 2012.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since March 11, 2009, the alleged onset date.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: a depressive disorder; a bipolar disorder; a generalized anxiety disorder; diabetes mellitus; lumbar degenerative disc disease; and spondylosis, ...

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