United States District Court, N.D. Oklahoma
OPINION AND ORDER
H. MCCARTHY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Erica Dawn Pridgen, on behalf of M.M.M. a minor child,
seeks judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration denying Social Security
disability benefits. In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(c)(1) & (3), the parties have consented to proceed
before a United States Magistrate Judge.
role of the court in reviewing the decision of the
Commissioner under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) is limited to a
determination of whether the record as a whole contains
substantial evidence to support the decision and whether the
correct legal standards were applied. See Briggs ex rel.
Briggs v. Massanari, 248 F.3d 1235, 1237 (10th Cir.
2001); Winfrey v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017 (10th Cir.
1996); Castellano v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 26 F.3d 1027, 1028 (10th Cir. 1994). Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla, less than a preponderance,
and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1427, 28
L.Ed.2d 842 (1971) (quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v.
NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938)). The court may neither
reweigh the evidence nor substitute its judgment for that of
the Commissioner. Casias v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 933 F.2d 799, 800 (10th Cir. 1991). Even
if the court would have reached a different conclusion, if
supported by substantial evidence, the Commissioner's
decision stands. Hamilton v. Secretary of Health &
Human Servs., 961 F.2d 1495 (10th Cir. 1992).
Evaluation for Child's Disability Benefits
procedures for evaluating disability for children are set out
at 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a). The first step is to
determine whether the child is performing substantial gainful
activity. If not, the next consideration is whether the child
has a “severe” mental or physical impairment. A
“severe” impairment is one that causes more than
minimal functional limitations. If a “severe”
impairment is identified, the claim is reviewed to determine
whether the child has an impairment that: 1) meets, medically
equals, or functionally equals the listings of impairments
for children; and 2) meets the duration requirement.
child does not have impairments of a severity to meet a
listing, the severity of the limitations imposed by
impairments are analyzed to determine whether they
functionally equal a listing. Six broad areas of functioning,
called domains, are considered to assess what a child can and
cannot do. Impairments functionally equal a listing when the
impairments result in “marked” limitations in two
domains or an “extreme” limitation in one domain.
20 C.F.R. § 416.926a. The six domains are: 1) acquiring
and using information; 2) attending and completing tasks; 3)
interacting and relating with others; 4) moving about and
manipulating objects; 5) caring for yourself; and 6) health
and physical well-being. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(b)(1). A
limitation is “marked” when it interferes
seriously with the ability to independently initiate,
sustain, or complete activities. 20 C.F.R. §
416.926a(e)(2)(I). An “extreme” limitation
interferes very seriously with the ability to independently
initiate, sustain, or complete activities. 20 C.F.R. §
was 9 years old on the amended date of alleged onset of
disability and 10 on the date of the ALJ's denial
decision. She claims to have been disabled since August 20,
2012 as a result of attention deficit disorder, oppositional
defiant disorder, and anxiety.
determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the
severity of one of the listings. The ALJ proceeded to make
findings as to the six domains of functional equivalence, as
follows: Plaintiff has less than marked limitation in
acquiring and using information; Plaintiff has a marked
limitation in attending and completing tasks; Plaintiff has
less than marked limitation in interacting and relating with
others; Plaintiff has no limitation in moving about and
manipulating objects; Plaintiff has no limitation in the
ability to care for herself; and less than marked limitation
in health and physical well-being. Based on these findings,
the ALJ found that Plaintiff has not been disabled as defined
in the Social Security Act since August 28, 2012, the date
the application was filed.
asserts that the finding that she had “less than
marked” limitations in interacting and relating to
others was legally insufficient and not supported by
substantial evidence; the ALJ failed to properly evaluate the
opinions of her teacher, Ms. Pry, in regard to social
functioning; and the ...