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Collins v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Western Division

January 10, 2018

CHRISTOPHER D. COLLINS, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          District Judge Thomas M. Rose

          REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION [1] THAT: (1) THE ALJ'S NON-DISABILITY FINDING BE FOUND SUPPORTED BY SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE AND AFFIRMED; AND (2) THIS CASE BE CLOSED ON THE COURT'S DOCKET

          Michael J. Newman, Magistrate Judge

         This is a Social Security disability benefits appeal. At issue is whether the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") erred in finding Plaintiff not "disabled" and therefore unentitled to Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") and Child Disability Benefits ("CDB"). This case is before the Court upon Plaintiffs Statement of Errors (doc. 9), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 10), Plaintiffs reply (doc. 11), the administrative record (doc. 7), [2] and the record as a whole.

         I.

         A. Procedural History

         Plaintiff filed an application for SSI on January 29, 2013 and an application for CDB on February 14, 2013 alleging disability as of May 1, 1999 - then 7 years old - who is now 26 years old. PageID 257-62, 263-76. Plaintiff alleges disability as a result of a number of alleged impairments including, inter alia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD"), bipolar disorder, anxiety, and a history of poly sub stance abuse. PageID 44.

         After an initial denial of Plaintiff s application, Plaintiff received a hearing before ALJ Gregory G. Kenyon on July 22, 2015. PageID 64-92. The ALJ issued a decision on August 19, 2015 finding Plaintiff not disabled. PageID 42-56. Specifically, the ALJ found at Step Five that, based upon Plaintiffs residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels subject to specific non-exertional limitations, [3] "there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy that [Plaintiff] can perform[.]" PageID 47-56.

         Thereafter, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review, making the ALJ's non-disability finding the final administrative decision of the Commissioner. PageID 30-33. See Casey v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 987 F.2d 1230, 1233 (6th Cir. 1993). Plaintiff then filed this timely appeal. Cook v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 480 F.3d 432, 435 (6th Cir. 2007).

         B. Evidence of Record

         The evidence of record is adequately summarized in the ALJ's decision (PageID 42-56), Plaintiffs Statement of Errors (doc. 9), the Commissioner's memorandum in opposition (doc. 10), and Plaintiffs reply (doc. 11). The undersigned incorporates all of the foregoing and sets forth the facts relevant to this appeal herein.

         II.

         A. Standard of Review

         The Court's inquiry on a Social Security appeal is to determine (1) whether the ALJ's non-disability finding is supported by substantial evidence, and (2) whether the ALJ employed the correct legal criteria. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Bowen v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 478 F.3d 742, 745- 46 (6th Cir. 2007). In performing this review, the Court must consider the record as a whole. Hephner v. Mathews, 574 F.2d 359, 362 (6th Cir. 1978).

         Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Richardson v. Perales,402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971). When substantial evidence supports the ALJ's denial of benefits, that finding must be affirmed, even if substantial evidence also exists in the record upon which the ALJ could have found Plaintiff disabled. Buxton v. Halter, 246 F.3d 762, 772 (6th Cir. 2001). Thus, the ALJ has a ...


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