United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
E. Ott, Chief United States Magistrate Judge
Glenn Kevin Langley brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking review of the final decision of the
Acting Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying his application
supplemental security income (“SSI”). (Doc.
The case has been assigned to the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge pursuant to this court's general order
of reference. The parties have consented to the jurisdiction
of this court for disposition of the matter. (See
Doc. 8). See 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), Fed.R.Civ.P.
73(a). Upon review of the record and the relevant law, the
undersigned finds that the Commissioner's decision is due
to be affirmed.
protectively filed his current SSI application alleging he
became disabled on April 22, 2014. (R. 44, 164). It was
initially denied. An administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) held a video hearing on December 8, 2015
(Id.) and issued an unfavorable decision on May 11,
2016 (R. 44-53). Plaintiff submitted his appeal to the
Appeals Council. Upon consideration, the Appeals Council
found no reason to review the ALJ's decision. (R. 57).
Plaintiff's request for review was denied on October 19,
was 47 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision. He
has a seventh grade education and intermittently has worked
in the past as a buffer installation person for a marble
company and as a self-employed house painter. (R. 7-9).
Plaintiff alleges onset of disability due to back and neck
pain and depression. (R. 184).
a hearing, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the following
medically determinable impairments: cervical degenerative
joint disease, peripheral neuropathy, sciatica, hypertension,
and major depressive disorder. (R. 46). She also found
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one
of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P,
app. 1. (R. 46). She further found Plaintiff retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(b) and that
he could (1) occasionally operate hand controls and reach
overhead bilaterally; (2) occasionally climb ladders or
scaffolds and frequently stoop; (3) have no exposure to
unprotected heights or hazardous, moving mechanical parts;
(4) perform simple tasks with occasional changes to routine;
and (5) have frequent contact with supervisors, coworkers,
and the public. (R. 48-49). Based on the RFC finding and
testimony from a vocational expert (“VE”), the
ALJ concluded Plaintiff had no relevant past work history.
(R. 52). However, based on his age, limited education, work
experience, and RFC, the ALJ found that jobs existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff
could perform, such as an assembler, wire worker, and hand
packer. (Id.) Accordingly, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff was not under a disability, as defined in the
Social Security Act, since April 22, 2014, through the date
of her decision. (R. 53).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
narrowly circumscribed. The function of the court is to
determine whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards were applied. Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 390, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1422 (1971); Wilson v.
Barnhart, 284 F.3d 1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002). The
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).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. It is “more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance.” Id.
court must uphold factual findings that are supported by
substantial evidence. However, it reviews the ALJ's legal
conclusions 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, it must reverse the ALJ's decision.
See Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145-46
(11th Cir. 1991).
STATUTORY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
qualify for SSI under the Social Security Act, a claimant
must show 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). A physical or mental impairment
is “an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §
of disability under the Social Security Act requires a five
step analysis. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4).
Specifically, the Commissioner must determine in sequence:
whether the claimant: (1) is unable to engage in substantial
gainful activity; (2) has a severe medically determinable
physical or mental impairment; (3) has such an impairment
that meets or equals a Listing and meets the duration
requirements; (4) can perform his past relevant work, in
light of his residual functional capacity; and (5) can make
an adjustment to ...