United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
KIMBERLY E. WEST UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Ronald Dean Whittenberg (“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. Claimant appeals the decision of the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) and asserts that the Commissioner
erred because the ALJ incorrectly determined that Claimant
was not disabled. For the reasons discussed below, it is the
recommendation of the undersigned that the Commissioner's
decision be 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 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. 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: 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 56 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision.
Claimant obtained a GED. Claimant has worked in the past as
an electrician/journeyman wireman. Claimant alleges an
inability to work beginning July 1, 2007 due to limitations
caused by back and knee pain and neck/whiplash problems.
March 14, 2013, Claimant protectively filed for disability
insurance benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C. § 401,
et seq.) of the Social Security Act. On March 29,
2013, he filed for supplemental security income pursuant to
Title XVI (42 U.S.C. § 1381, et seq.) of the
Social Security Act. Claimant's applications were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. On January 28, 2015, a
hearing was held before ALJ Edmund Werre in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
By decision dated March 19, 2015, the ALJ found that Claimant
was not disabled during the relevant period and denied
Claimant's request for benefits. On July 28, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied review of the ALJ's decision.
Thus, the decision of the ALJ represents the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of further
appeal. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step four of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, he did not meet a listing and retained the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
his past relevant work.
Alleged for Review
acting pro se in this appeal, asserts the ALJ
committed error in failing to properly consider the evidence
of his disability and arriving at an RFC which was not
supported by the medical record.