United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
P. SHREDER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
claimant Rosanna Andrews requests judicial review pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the decision of the Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration denying her application
for benefits under the Social Security Act. She appeals the
decision of the Commissioner and asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) erred in
determining she was not disabled. For the reasons set forth
below, the decision of the Commissioner is hereby 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 Social Security Act
“only if h[er] physical or mental impairment or
impairments are of such severity that [s]he is not only
unable to do h[er] previous work but cannot, considering
h[er] 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. See 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920.
review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in
scope by 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). This Court's review is
limited to two inquiries: 1) whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence, and 2) whether the correct
legal standards were applied. See Hawkins v. Chater,
113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997) [citation omitted]. The
term “substantial evidence” requires
“‘more than a mere scintilla. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.'” Richardson
v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971), quoting
Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229
(1938). However, the Court may not reweigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. See
Casias v. Secretary of Health & Human Services, 933
F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the Court must
review the record as a whole, and “[t]he substantiality
of evidence must take into account whatever in the record
fairly detracts from its weight.” Universal Camera
Corp. v. NLRB, 340 U.S. 474, 488 (1951); see also
Casias, 933 F.2d at 800-01.
claimant was born on October 31, 1963, and was fifty-one
years old at the time of the administrative hearing (Tr.
299). She completed the eleventh grade and earned a GED, and
has no past relevant work (Tr. 19, 109, 299). The claimant
alleges she has been unable to work since June 1, 2007, due
to type II diabetes and hip/lower back problems (Tr. 108).
December 10, 2012, the claimant applied for supplemental
security income benefits under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381-85. Her application
was denied. ALJ Lantz McClain held an administrative hearing
and determined the claimant was not disabled in a written
decision dated June 19, 2015 (Tr. 13-20). The Appeals Council
denied review, so the ALJ's written decision represents
the final decision of the Commissioner for purposes of this
appeal. See 20 C.F.R. § 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He found that the claimant retained the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform the full range of medium work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(c), i. e., that
she can lift/carry fifty pounds occasionally and twenty-five
pounds frequently, and stand/walk and sit at least six hours
in an eight-hour workday (Tr. 16). The ALJ concluded that
although the claimant had no past relevant work to return to,
she was nevertheless not disabled because there was work she
could perform, i. e., dishwasher and fast food
worker (Tr. 19-20).
claimant's sole contention of error is that the ALJ
failed to consider her obesity in assessing her claim for
disability. The Court finds this contention unpersuasive for
the following reasons.
determined that the claimant had the severe impairment of
insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, and the nonsevere
impairment of low back and hip pain (Tr. 15). The relevant
medical evidence reveals that the claimant was mostly treated
at Wilma Mankiller Indian Health Center. Her weight in the