United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Corey Benjamin Summerford (“Summerford”) brings
this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Summerford seeks a
review of a final adverse decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”),
who denied his application for supplemental security income
(“SSI”). Summerford filed his application on
August 6, 2013. After that, Summerford exhausted the
administrative remedies available before the Commissioner.
This case is now ripe for judicial review under section
205(g) of the Social Security Act (the “Act”), 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
reviewing the entire record, this Court
AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision.
was 23 years old at the time of his hearing with the ALJ.
(Tr. 27). At that time, he was living with his parents.
(Id.). His highest level of education is part of the
10th grade, and he does not have a GED. (Id. at 25).
The vocational expert “didn't identify any work
experience.” (Id. at 43). Summerford claims
disability based on his mental health. (Id. at 27,
29, 31, 33).
amended alleged onset date is June 21, 2009. (Id. at
10). On August 6, 2013, Summerford filed an application for
supplemental security income. (Id.). The Social
Security Administration denied that application on October
10, 2013. (Id.). On April 16, 2015, Administrative
Law Judge Ronald Reeves held a hearing. (Id.). The
ALJ issued his decision on May 8, 2015, which was unfavorable
to Summerford. (Id. at 10-17). The ALJ determined
that Summerford suffers from “panic disorder, anxiety
disorder, an obsessive-compulsive disorder.”
(Id. at 12) (emphasis omitted). Summerford also
alleged that he suffers from paranoia. (Id.). In his
opinion, the ALJ found that Summerford's impairments did
not meet the severity of the ones included in the Code of
Federal Regulations. (Id.) (emphasis omitted).
Summerford requested the Appeals Council review his claim.
(Id. at 1-3). They refused. (Id.).
filed his Complaint in the Northern District of Alabama on
September 30, 2016. (Doc. 1). Summerford filed his brief in
support of his position on May 22, 2017. (Doc. 12). The
Commissioner responded on May 30, 2017. (Doc. 13).
court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
narrowly circumscribed. The function of this court is to
determine whether the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards were applied. Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 390 (1971); Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d
1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002). This court must
“scrutinize the record as a whole to determine if the
decision reached is reasonable and supported by substantial
evidence.” Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d
1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983). This court will determine that
the ALJ's opinion is supported by substantial evidence if
it finds “such relevant evidence as a reasonable person
would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Id. Substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance.” Id.
Factual findings that are supported by substantial evidence
must be upheld by the court.
ALJ's legal conclusions, however, are reviewed de
novo, because no presumption of validity attaches to the
ALJ's determination of the proper legal standards to be
applied. Davis v. Shalala, 985 F.2d 528, 531 (11th
Cir. 1993). If the court finds an error in the ALJ's
application of the law, or if the ALJ fails to provide the
court with sufficient reasoning for determining that the
proper legal analysis has been conducted, the ALJ's
decision must be reversed. Cornelius v. Sullivan,
936 F.2d 1143, 1145-46 (11th Cir. 1991).
Statutory and Regulatory Framework
qualify for disability benefits and establish his or her
entitlement for a period of disability, a claimant must be
disabled as defined by the Social Security Act and the
Regulations promulgated thereunder. The Regulations define
“disabled” as “the inability to do 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
twelve (12) months.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1505(a). To
establish an entitlement to disability benefits, a claimant
must provide evidence about a “physical or mental
impairment” that “must result from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be
shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1508.
Regulations provide a five-step process for determining
whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(i-v). The Commissioner must determine in
(1) whether the claimant is currently employed;
(2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment;
(3) whether the claimant's impairment meets or equals an
impairment listed by ...