United States District Court, E.D. Oklahoma
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Kimberly E. West United States Magistrate Judge
Angela Cox-Graham (the “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 55 years old at the time of the ALJ's decision.
Claimant completed her high school education. Claimant worked
in the past as a cashier II, cashier, and checker bagger.
Claimant alleges an inability to work beginning February 1,
2007 due to limitations resulting from the effects of a
April 28, 2009, Claimant filed for disability insurance
benefits under Title II (42 U.S.C. § 401, et
seq.) and 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. After an unfavorable
ruling, Claimant appealed the decision to this Court where it
was reversed and remanded to Defendant for further
proceedings. In the meantime, Claimant filed additional
claims and the Appeals Council ordered that all claims be
conducted a further administrative hearing and another
unfavorable decision was rendered. Again, the decision was
reversed and remanded by this Court on March 29, 2017.
remand, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) Lantz
McClain conducted a further administrative hearing by video
with Claimant appearing in Fort Smith, Arkansas and the ALJ
presiding from Tulsa, Oklahoma. On February 23, 2018, the ALJ
issued a partially unfavorable decision, finding Claimant was
disabled beginning September 4, 2017 but was not disabled
prior to that time. The decision of the ALJ represents the
Commissioner's final decision for purposes of further
appeal. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.984, 416.1484.
of the Administrative Law Judge
made his decision at step five of the sequential evaluation.
He determined that while Claimant suffered from severe
impairments, she retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work with limitations
before September 4, 2017.