United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
J. LIMBERT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
William Henry Varner (“Plaintiff”) requests
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security Administration (“Defendant”)
denying his application for disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”). ECF Dkt. #1. In his brief on the merits,
filed on July 3, 2017, Plaintiff asserts that the ALJ erred
by failing to re-contact a physician for clarification of the
bases for the opinion that Plaintiff met a listing. ECF Dkt.
#13. Defendant filed a response brief on July 31, 2017. ECF
Dkt. #14. Plaintiff filed a reply brief on August 14, 2017.
ECF Dkt. #15.
following reasons, the Court AFFIRMS the decision of the ALJ
and dismisses the instant case in its entirety with
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
filed an application for DIB on February 23, 2013, alleging a
period of disability beginning January 21, 2013. ECF Dkt. #12
(“Tr.”) at 13. The claim was denied initially and upon
reconsideration. Id. at 73, 87. Plaintiff then
requested a hearing before an ALJ, which was held on August
12, 2015. Id. at 28. On October 2, 2015, the ALJ
issued a decision concluding that Plaintiff was not disabled.
Id. at 10. Subsequently, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. Id. at 1.
Accordingly, the decision issued by the ALJ on October 2,
2015, stands as the final decision.
instant suit was filed by Plaintiff on March 22, 2017. ECF
Dkt. #1. Plaintiff filed a brief on the merits on July 3,
2017. ECF Dkt. #13. Defendant filed a response brief on July
31, 2017. ECF Dkt. #14. Plaintiff filed a reply brief on
August 14, 2017. ECF Dkt. #15.
SUMMARY OF RELEVANT PORTIONS OF THE ALJ'S
October 2, 2015, the ALJ issued a decision finding that
Plaintiff was not disabled. Tr. at 10. The ALJ found that
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Social
Security Act through December 31, 2015. Id. at 15.
Continuing, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had not engaged
in substantial gainful activity since January 21, 2013, the
alleged onset date. Id. The ALJ found that Plaintiff
had the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus;
essential hypertension; and coronary artery disease.
Id. Next, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
consideration of the record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(b)
with the following additional limitations: never climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; occasionally climb ramps and
stairs; occasionally balance; never crawl; frequently handle
and finger with the right hand; and avoid extreme heat and
cold. Tr. at 16. The ALJ then determined that Plaintiff was
unable to perform any past relevant work, was an individual
closely approaching advanced age on the alleged disability
onset date, had at least a high school education, and was
able to communicate in English. Id. at 21. Next, the
ALJ stated that transferability of job skills was not
material to the determination of disability because the
medical-Vocational Rules supported a finding that Plaintiff
was not disabled. Id. Considering Plaintiff's
age, education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ determined
that jobs existed in significant numbers in the regional and
national economy that Plaintiff could perform. Id.
at 22. For these reasons, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had
not been under a disability, as defined in the Social
Security Act, from January 21, 2013, through the date of the
STEPS TO EVALUATE ENTITLEMENT TO SOCIAL SECURITY
must proceed through the required sequential steps for
evaluating entitlement to social security benefits. These
1. An individual who is working and engaging in substantial
gainful activity will not be found to be
“disabled” regardless of medical findings (20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(b) and 416.920(b) (1992));
2. An individual who does not have a “severe
impairment” will not be found to be
“disabled” (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(c)
and 416.920(c) (1992));
3. If an individual is not working and is suffering from a
severe impairment which meets the duration requirement, see
20 C.F.R. § 404.1509 and 416.909 (1992), and which meets
or is equivalent to a listed impairment in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404,
Subpt. P, App. 1, a finding of disabled will be made without
consideration of ...