United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division
MICHAEL J. SHEMANSKI, Plaintiff
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
HONORABLE GERSHWIN A. DRAIN JUDGE
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON CROSS-MOTIONS FOR
SUMMARY JUDGMENT [ECF. NOS. 16, 21]
ELIZABETH A. STAFFORD UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael J. Shemanski, proceeding pro se, appeals the
final decision of defendant Commissioner of Social Security
(Commissioner), which denied his application for disability
insurance benefits (DIB) under the Social Security Act. Both
parties have filed summary judgment motions, referred to this
Court for a report and recommendation under 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
• Shemanski's motion [ECF No. 16] be
• the Commissioner's motion [ECF No. 21] be
• the ALJ's decision be AFFIRMED
under to sentence four and sentence six of 42 U.S.C. §
Shemanski's Background and Disability
May 30, 1973, Shemanski was 40 years old on the alleged
disability onset date of April 15, 2014. [ECF No. 14-2, Tr.
29]. He has past relevant work as a truck driver, dump truck
driver, roll-off truck driver and construction worker.
[Id.]. Shemanski claims disability due to herniated
and bulging discs in his neck and back. [ECF No. 14-3, Tr.
hearing in March 2017, during which Shemanski and a
vocational expert (VE) testified, the ALJ found that
Shemanski was not disabled. [ECF No. 14-2, Tr. 14-64]. The
Appeals Council denied review, making the ALJ's decision
the final decision of the Commissioner. [Id., Tr.
1-6]. Shemanski timely filed for judicial review. [ECF No.
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. § 423(d)(1)(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. § 404.1520(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 Shemanski was not
disabled. At the first step, she found that Shemanski had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity during the relevant
period-the alleged onset date of April 15, 2014, through the
date of the decision. [ECF No. 14-2, Tr. 18]. At the second
step, she found that Shemanski had the severe impairments of
degenerative disc disease of the cervical and lumbar spine
status post cervical fusion; status post cervical sprain and
whiplash injury; and obesity. [Id.]. Next, the ALJ