United States District Court, D. Kansas
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
MURGUIA United States District Judge
Vladimir Galochkin filed this action pursuant to Title II of
the Social Security Act (“Act”), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401 et seq., requesting disability benefits.
Plaintiff claims that he became disabled on October 27, 2012.
He suffers from spondylosis/degenerative disc disease and
depression. The administrative law judge (“ALJ”)
reviewing plaintiff's case found that plaintiff had these
medically determinable impairments, but that they did not
constitute severe impairments. The ALJ therefore found that
plaintiff was not disabled, and the ALJ's decision stands
as the final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security.
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in several ways: (1) he
failed to determine plaintiff's residual functional
capacity (“RFC”); (2) he failed to consider
plaintiff's age as a vocational barrier; and (3) he
improperly weighed the opinion of a non-treating,
non-examining physician over plaintiff's treating
physician. After reviewing the record, the court makes the
court applies a two-pronged review to the ALJ's decision:
(1) Are the factual findings supported by substantial
evidence in the record? (2) Did the ALJ apply the correct
legal standards? Lax v. Astrue, 489 F.3d 1080, 1084
(10th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted). “Substantial
evidence” is a term of art. It means “more than a
mere scintilla” and “‘such relevant
evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Hunter v. Astrue,
321 F. App'x 789, 792 (10th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Flaherty v. Astrue, 515 F.3d 1067, 1070 (10th Cir.
2007)). When evaluating whether the standard has been met,
the court is limited; it may not reweigh the evidence or
replace the ALJ's judgment with its own. Bellamy v.
Massanari, 29 F. App'x 567, 569 (10th Cir. 2002)
(citing Kelley v. Chater, 62 F.3d 335, 337 (10th
Cir. 1995)). On the other hand, the court must examine the
entire record-including any evidence that may detract from
the decision of the ALJ. Jaramillo v. Massanari, 21
F. App'x 792, 794 (10th Cir. 2001) (citing Glenn v.
Shalala, 21 F.3d 983, 984 (10th Cir. 1994)).
bears the burden of proving disability. Hunter, 321
F. App'x at 792. A disability requires an
impairment-physical or mental-that causes one to be unable to
engage in any substantial gainful activity. Id.
(quoting Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212, 217
(2002)). Impairment, as defined under 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A), is a “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.”
uses a five-step sequential process to evaluate disability
claims. Williams v. Bowen, 844 F.2d 748, 750 (10th
Cir. 1988) (citation omitted). But the ALJ may stop once he
makes a disability determination; he does not need to
continue through subsequent steps if he is able to find a
claimant disabled or not disabled at an intermediate step.
components of the five-step process are:
. Step One: The plaintiff must demonstrate
that he is not engaged in substantial gainful employment
activity. Id. If the plaintiff meets this burden,
then the ALJ moves to Step Two.
. Step Two: The plaintiff must demonstrate
that he has a “medically severe impairment or
combination of impairments” that severely limits his
ability to do work. Id. (internal quotation
o If the plaintiffs impairments have no more than a minimal
effect on his ability to do work, then the ALJ can make a
nondisability determination at this step.
o If the plaintiff makes a sufficient showing that his
impairments are more than minimal, then the ALJ moves to Step
. Step Three: The ALJ compares the
impairment to the “listed
impairments”-impairments that the Secretary of Health
and Human Services recognizes as severe enough to preclude
substantial gainful activity. Id. . at 751.
o If the impairment(s) match one on the list, then the ALJ
makes a disability finding. Id.
o If an impairment is not listed, the ALJ moves to Step Four
of the ...