Emard v. Commissioner of Social Security, No. 19-1591 (6th Cir. 2020)Annotate this Case
Emard, age 33, was injured in a 2010 motorcycle accident. Emard had previously worked as a truck driver, assembler, and packager. He ceased working after the accident. His application for Social Security disability-insurance benefits claimed chronic low-back pain, chronic neck pain, cervical radiculopathy, lumbar radiculopathy, chronic migraine headaches, fatigue, mood swings, anxiety, and Crohn’s disease. An ALJ determined that Emard had not engaged in substantial gainful activity during his insured period; that Emard’s degenerative disc disease, asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, anxiety, and depression were severe impairments, but that his other conditions were mild impairments; that none of Emard’s impairments or any combination thereof met the criteria of any listed impairment; that Emard had the residual functional capacity to perform sedentary work; that Emard’s “subjective complaints exceed the available objective records,” particularly in light of Emard’s conservative course of treatment; that Emard could not perform past relevant work; and that Emard could perform jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy.
The district court and Sixth Circuit affirmed the denial of benefits. The ALJ made no procedural error by declining to give weight to the opinion of a treating source offered after the claimant’s date last insured that did not relate back to the insured period. The ALJ complied with requirements to view Emard’s impairments in combination and to consider Emard’s ability to work on a sustained basis.