United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
Honorable Laurie J. Michaelson, Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 15, 20]
Elizabeth A. Stafford Magistrate Judge
Paultilia Lee appeals the final decision of defendant
Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner), which denied
her application for supplemental security income (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
• Lee's motion [ECF No. 15] be
• the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 20] be
• the ALJ's decision be AFFIRMED
pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Lee's Background and Disability Applications
March 12, 1990, Lee was 24 years old on the date of
application. [ECF No. 13-2, Tr. 34]. She has no past relevant
work. [Id.]. Lee claims disability due to diabetes
mellitus, hypertension, high cholesterol, depression and
intellectual disability. [ECF No. 13-3, Tr. 79].
hearing on January 12, 2016, during which Lee and a
vocational expert (VE) testified, the ALJ found that Lee was
not disabled. [ECF No. 13-2, Tr. 20-64]. The Appeals Council
denied review, making the ALJ's decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. [Id., Tr. 1-6]. Lee
timely filed for judicial review. [ECF No. 1].
The ALJ's Application of the Disability Framework
“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
(“RFC”), 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 Lee was not disabled.
At the first step, she found that Lee had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the application date, June
13, 2014. [ECF No. 13-2, Tr. 22]. At the second step, she
found that Lee had the severe impairments of “mild
intellectual disability, obesity, adjustment disorder with
depressed mood.” [Id., Tr. 23]. She determined
that Lee's diabetes mellitus, hypertension,
hyperlipidemia, headaches and history of boil were non-severe
impairments. [Id.]. Next, the ALJ ...