United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
KIMBERLY E. WEST, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Jody Allen (“Plaintiff”), on behalf of the minor
child, J.K.A. (“Claimant”) requests judicial
review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social
Security Administration (the “Commissioner”)
denying Claimant's application for disability benefits
under the Social Security Act. Plaintiff appeals the decision
of the Administrative Law Judge and asserts that the
Commissioner erred because the ALJ incorrectly determined
that Claimant was not disabled. For the reasons discussed
below, it is the finding of this Court that the
Commissioner's decision should be and is REVERSED and
REMANDED for further proceedings.
Security Law and Standard of Review
for persons under the age of 18 is defined by the Social
Security Act as the “a medically determinable physical
or mental impairment or combination of impairments that
causes marked and severe functional limitations, and that can
be expected to cause death or that has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12
months.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.906. Social Security
regulations implement a three-step sequential process to
evaluate a claim for Child's Supplemental Security Income
Benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act.
See, 20 C.F.R. § 416.924.
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: first, whether the decision was
supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the
correct legal standards were applied. Hawkins v.
Chater, 113 F.3d 1162, 1164 (10th Cir. 1997)(citation
omitted). The term “substantial evidence” has
been interpreted by the United States Supreme Court to
require “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)). The court may not re-weigh the evidence nor
substitute its discretion for that of the agency. Casias
v. Secretary of Health & Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799,
800 (10th Cir. 1991). Nevertheless, the court must review the
record as a whole, and the “substantiality of the
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.
was born on December 27, 2000 and was 13 years old on the
date the ALJ issued his decision. Claimant is alleged to have
become disabled on October 31, 2007 due to epilepsy/seizure
disorder and mood disorder.
February 27, 2012, Claimant, through Plaintiff, protectively
applied for Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI of
the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. § 1381 et
seq.). Claimant's application for benefits was
denied in its entirety initially and on reconsideration. On
February 27, 2014, Plaintiff appeared at an administrative
hearing in Tulsa, Oklahoma before Administrative Law Judge
Bernard Porter (“ALJ”) by video with Claimant
appearing in Poteau, Oklahoma and the ALJ presiding from
McAlester, Oklahoma. The ALJ issued an unfavorable decision
on May 28, 2014. On November 24, 2015, the Appeals Council
denied review of the ALJ's findings. Thus, the decision
of the ALJ represents the Commissioner's final decision
for purposes of further appeal. 20 C.F.R. §§
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step three of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that Claimant's condition did not meet a
listing and he had not been under a disability during the
asserts the ALJ committed error in failing to find
Claimant's condition met or equaled a listing.