United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
E. OTT CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michael Angelo White 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 him supplemental
security income (“SSI”) benefits. (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 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.
filed his application for SSI benefits in October 2013,
alleging he became disabled beginning October 8, 2013. It was
initially denied by an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”). The Appeals Council (“AC”)
denied Plaintiff's request for review. (R.
was 43 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision. (R.
121). He completed the eleventh grade. He previously worked
as a dishwasher, poultry eviscerator, mason's helper, and
landscape laborer. (R. 17, 31, 36-39, 52). He alleges
disability due to digestive track problems. (R. 146).
Plaintiff's hearing, the ALJ found that he had the
medically determinable severe impairment of gastrointestinal
hemorrhage. (R. 13). He also found that Plaintiff did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
equaled the severity of a listed impairment. (R. at 14). He
further found that Plaintiff had the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform medium work with
limitations. (R. 15). He determined that Plaintiff could
perform his past work as a dishwasher and poultry eviserator,
as well as other jobs in the national economy. (R. 17). The
ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled. (R. 18).
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); Mitchell v.
Comm'r Soc. Sec., 771 F.3d 780, 782 (11th Cir. 2015;
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). The court must affirm the ALJ's
decision if substantial evidence supports it, even if other
evidence preponderates against the Commissioner's
findings. See Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
363 F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting Martin v.
Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520, 1529 (11th Cir.1990)).
STATUTORY AND REGULATORY FRAMEWORK
qualify for benefits 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. § 1382c(a)(3)(D).
of disability under the Social Security Act requires a five
step analysis. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(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 ...