United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable George Caram Steeh
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 15, 17]
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD United States Magistrate Judge
Corey Russell appeals a final decision of defendant
Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying his
application for supplemental social security income benefits
(SSI) under the Social Security Act. Both parties have filed
summary judgment motions, referred to this Court for a report
and recommendation pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1)(B).
After review of the record, the Court finds that the
administrative law judge's (ALJ) decision is supported by
substantial evidence, and thus RECOMMENDS
. Russell's motion [ECF No. 15] be
. the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 17]
be GRANTED; and
. the Commissioner's decision be
AFFIRMED pursuant to sentence four of 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
Background and Disability Applications
was born on May 12, 1975, making him 35 years old on his
alleged onset date of August 22, 2011. [ECF No. 11-5, Tr.
131]. His highest completed level of education is the eighth
grade, and he has prior work history as a bar code scanner,
laborer, and warehouse quality inspector. [ECF No. 11-6, Tr.
152-53]. He alleged disability due to Erb's palsy, mood
swings, hallucinations, depression, panic attacks, and
anxiety. [ECF No. 11-6, Tr. 151].
the Commissioner denied his disability application initially,
Russell requested a hearing, which took place in July 2015,
during which he and a vocational expert (VE) testified. [ECF
No. 11-2, Tr. 36-68]. In an August 19, 2015, written
decision, the ALJ found Russell to be not disabled.
[Id., Tr. 32]. The Appeals Council denied review,
making the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner, and Russell timely filed for judicial review.
[Id., Tr. 1-3; ECF No. 1].
The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework
available for those who have a “disability.”
See Colvin v. Barnhart, 475 F.3d 727, 730 (6th Cir.
2007). A “disability” is the “inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A).
Commissioner determines whether an applicant is disabled by
analyzing five sequential steps. First, if the applicant is
“doing substantial gainful activity, ” he or she
will be found not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4).
Second, if the claimant has not had a severe impairment or a
combination of such impairments for a continuous period of at
least 12 months, no disability will be found. Id.
Third, if the claimant's severe impairments meet or equal
the criteria of an impairment set forth in the
Commissioner's Listing of Impairments, the claimant will
be found disabled. Id. If the fourth step is
reached, the Commissioner considers its assessment of the
claimant's residual functional capacity, and will find
the claimant not disabled if he or she can still do past
relevant work. Id. At the final step, the
Commissioner reviews the claimant's RFC, age, education
and work experiences, and determines whether the claimant
could adjust to other work. Id. The claimant bears
the burden of proof throughout the first four steps, but the
burden shifts to the Commissioner if the fifth step is
reached. Preslar v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 14 F.3d 1107, 1110 (6th Cir. 1994).
this framework, the ALJ concluded that Russell was not
disabled. At the first step, he found that Russell had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since his alleged
onset date. [ECF No. 11-2, Tr. 20]. At the second step, the
ALJ found that Russell had the severe impairments of
“history of Erb's palsy with no use of the right
upper extremity; subscapularis muscle tear, right shoulder;
lumbar spine arthritis; history of bipolar disorder; major
depression; anxiety; mood disorder; antisocial personality
disorder; paranoid personality disorder; intellectual
disability; and history of substance abuse, in