United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northwestern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. BURKE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 18, 2018, the Plaintiff Melanie Jones filed a
complaint (Doc. 1) seeking judicial review of an adverse
final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“the Commissioner”) pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The Commissioner filed an answer to
the complaint on June 5, 2018. On August 20, 2018, the
Plaintiff filed a brief in support of her position. (Doc.
11). The Commissioner then filed a brief in support of the
decision on September 20, 2018. (Doc. 12). Therefore, this
issue is ripe for review. For the reasons stated below, the
final decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
Plaintiff protectively filed for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits on August 27, 2015. (R. 33).
She alleged that her disability began the same day her claim
was filed. Id. Her claim for benefits was
subsequently denied on December 10, 2015, and she requested
the hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on
December 14, 2015. Id. The Plaintiff appeared before
ALJ Patrick Digby on October 12, 2016, in Florence, Alabama.
Id. The Plaintiff testified and was questioned by
both the ALJ and her attorney. (R. 102, 109). Additionally,
vocational expert Dr. Jewel Euto testified at the hearing.
(R. 120). The ALJ released his opinion on March 1, 2017. (R.
49). When he issued his opinion, the ALJ used the five-step
evaluation process promulgated by the Social Security
Administration to determine whether an individual is
disabled. (R. 34). The ALJ made the following determinations:
1. The Plaintiff meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2020. (R. 35).
2. The Plaintiff has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 27, 2015, the alleged onset date of the
3. The Plaintiff has the following severe impairments:
obesity, lumbar spine spondylolisthesis, and arthritic spinal
4. The Plaintiff does not have an impairment or combination
of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart
P, Appendix 1. (R. 41).
5. The Plaintiff has the residual functional capacity (RFC)
to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567
and 416.927, except the Plaintiff can occasionally lift and
carry ten pounds. The Plaintiff can sit, stand, and walk
approximately six hours in an eight hour work day with
customary work breaks; should be allowed to alternate
position of sitting or standing every thirty minutes; can
push/pull including operation of hand or foot controls up to
ten pounds; can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance,
stoop, kneel, and crouch. The Plaintiff cannot work on
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; should avoid all exposure to
hazardous machinery and unprotected heights; crawl; cannot
work in or around heavy vibratory jobs. Id.
6. The Plaintiff is unable to perform any past relevant work.
7. The Plaintiff was born on September 27, 1974, and was 40
years old, which is defined as a younger individual, age
18-44, on the alleged onset date. Id.
8. The Plaintiff has at least a high school education and can
communicate in English. Id.
9. A determination of transferability of job skills is not
material to the determination of disability as the
Medical-Vocational Rules support a finding that the Plaintiff
is not disabled. Id.
10. With the Plaintiff’s age, education, work
experience, and RFC, there are a significant number of jobs
in the national ...