United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kristy Robinson (“Plaintiff”) brings this action
pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security Act (the
“Act”), seeking review of the decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (the
“Commissioner”) denying her claims for a period
of disability insurance benefits (“DIB”).
See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Based on the
court's review of the record and the briefs submitted by
the parties, the court finds that the decision of the
Commissioner is due to be affirmed.
February 27, 2016 Plaintiff protectively applied for a period
of disability and disability insurance benefits under Title
II of the Social Security Act, alleging disability as of July
1, 2011. (R. 137). The Social Security Administration
("SSA") initially denied Plaintiff's
application on April 8, 2016. (R. 84). On June 16, 2016,
Plaintiff filed a request for a hearing before an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). (R. 88). That
request was granted (R. 88), and Plaintiff received a hearing
before ALJ Perry Martin on October 11, 2017. (R. 109).
February 13, 2018 the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision,
finding Plaintiff “has not been under a disability
within the meaning of the Social Security Act from February
27, 2016 through the date of this decision.” (R. 16).
After the Appeals Council ("AC") denied
Plaintiff's request for review of the ALJ's decision
(R. 1), the ALJ's decision became the final decision of
the Commissioner, and, therefore, a proper subject for this
was 32 years old as of her application date. (R. 73). She has
a high school education (R. 158), and worked for a few months
in 2004 and 2005 and a few more months in 2011. (R. 48-5,
143). Plaintiff initially alleged that she could not work due
to HIV, panic attacks, and chronic migraines. (R. 157). In
addition to HIV, panic attacks, and chronic migraines, she
later alleged she experiences insomnia, depression, anxiety,
and digestive issues (R. 176).
2015, Plaintiff presented to Dr. Rashundra Hopkins of the
Kirklin Clinic. (R. 405). The Kirklin Clinic documents
indicate Plaintiff was diagnosed as Bipolar and prescribed
Lithium and Seroquel. (Id.).
saw Dr. Christina Muzny at the Kirklin Clinic on February 16,
2016. (R. 800). Dr. Muzny indicated that Plaintiff has a
history of persisting migraines which had worsened since an
assault by a former partner. (Id.). Dr. Munzy noted
Plaintiff's migraines to be “daily and
severe.” (Id.). Dr. Munzy further indicated in
her notes that Plaintiff suffers from chronic insomnia and is
prescribed Amitriptyline. (R. 338).
same day, Plaintiff saw Dr. Leigh Medaris of the Kirklin
Clinic, who diagnosed Plaintiff with generalized anxiety
disorder. (R. 800).
March 26, 2016, Dr. David Faber II of the Kirklin Clinic
diagnosed Plaintiff with Post Traumatic Stress disorder and
referred Plaintiff to therapy, increased her Amitriptyline
dosage, and added Escitalopram to her prescribed medications.
under the Act is determined under a five-step test. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520. First, the ALJ must determine whether the
claimant is engaging in substantial gainful activity. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). “Substantial work
activity” is work activity that involves doing
significant physical or mental activities. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1572(a). “Gainful work activity” is work that
is done for pay or profit. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1572(b). If
the ALJ finds that the claimant engages in substantial
gainful activity, then the claimant cannot claim disability.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b). Second, the ALJ must determine
whether the claimant has a medically determinable impairment
or a combination of medical impairments that significantly
limits the claimant's ability to perform basic work
activities. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). Absent such
impairment, the claimant may not claim disability.
Id. Third, the ALJ must determine whether the
claimant's impairment meets or medically equals the
criteria of an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. § 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(d), 404.1525, and 404.1526. If such criteria are
met, the claimant is declared disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
claimant does not fulfill the requirements necessary to be
declared disabled under the third step, the ALJ may still
find disability under the next two steps of the analysis. The
ALJ must first determine the claimant's residual
functional capacity (“RFC”), which refers to the
claimant's ability to work despite her impairments. 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(e). In the fourth step, the ALJ
determines whether the claimant has the RFC to perform past
relevant work. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the
claimant is determined to be capable of performing past
relevant work, then the claimant is deemed not disabled.
Id. If the ALJ finds the claimant unable to perform
past relevant work, then the analysis proceeds to the fifth
and final step. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(v). In the
last part of the analysis, the ALJ must determine whether the
claimant is able to perform any other work commensurate with
her RFC, age, education, and work experience. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(g). ...