United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
Ronnie Clay Allen, Sr. (“Allen”), seeks judicial
review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying
his application for disability insurance benefits under Title
II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401
et seq. For the reasons discussed below, the
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
Security Law and Standard of Review
under the Social Security Act is defined as the
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A
claimant is disabled under the Act only if his
“physical or mental impairment or impairments are of
such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous
work but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C.
§ 423(d)(2)(A). Social Security regulations implement a
five-step sequential process to evaluate a disability claim.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520. See also Wall v. Astrue, 561
F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009) (detailing steps). “If
a determination can be made at any of the steps that a
claimant is or is not disabled, evaluation under a subsequent
step is not necessary.” Lax, 489 F.3d 1080,
1084 (10th Cir. 2007) (citation and quotation omitted).
review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in
scope to two inquiries: first, whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the
correct legal standards were applied. Hamlin v.
Barnhart, 365 F.3d 1208, 1214 (10th Cir. 2004).
evidence is such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept
as adequate to support a conclusion. It requires more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance.”
Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052 (quotation and citation
omitted). Although the court will not reweigh the evidence,
the court will “meticulously examine the record as a
whole, including anything that may undercut or detract from
the ALJ's findings in order to determine if the
substantiality test has been met.” Id.
was forty-two years old on the alleged date of onset of
disability and forty-four on the date of the
Commissioner's final decision. [R. 1, R. 150 (Ex. 1D)].
He has a GED. [R.40]. He has previous experience as an auto
glass installer. [R. 154 (Ex. B2E)]. In his application, he
claimed to be unable to work as a result of bipolar I and II
disorder with psychotic tendencies, major depression, high
cholesterol, hand shaking, tiredness, memory and
concentration, inability to get along with others, blood
sugar and elevated liver enzymes.
decision, the ALJ found that Allen last met insured status
requirements on March 31, 2014, and, at Step One, that he had
not engaged in any substantial gainful activity during the
period from his amended alleged onset date of February 8,
2013, through his date last insured of March 31, 2014. [R.
14]. He found at Step Two that Allen had severe impairments
of bipolar disorder and substance addiction disorder.
Id. At Step Three, he found that the impairments did
not meet or medically equal any listing. [R. 14-15]. He
concluded that Allen had the following residual functional
The claimant is limited to simple and some complex tasks
(defined as semi-skilled work with a specific vocational
preparation (SVP) of 3-4). The claimant is unable to have
contact with the public. The claimant' contact with
co-workers and supervisors should be superficial (defined as
brief and cursory contact). .
[R. 16]. At Step Four, the ALJ determined that through the
date last insured, Allen was unable to perform any past
relevant work. [R. 24]. At Step Five, he found that,
considering Allen's age, education, work experience and
residual functional capacity, there were jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy that he could
have performed, including hand packager, DOT #920.587-018,
unskilled (SVP-2), medium exertion, 666, 000 in the national
economy; auto detailer, DOT #915.687-034, unskilled (SVP-2),
medium exertion, 290, 000 in the national economy; and box
maker, DOT #794.684-014, unskilled (SVP-2), medium exertion,
239, 000 in the national economy. [R. 25].
the ALJ found that Allen had not been under a disability at
any time from February 8, 2013, the amended alleged onset
date, through March 31, 2014, the date last insured.
appeal, Allen asserts that the ALJ should have given greater
weight to the expert medical opinion of his treating licensed
behavioral health professional (“LBHP”), should
have re-contacted the LBHP to ascertain if her opinion was
relevant to the period before the date last insured and
should have arranged ...