United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
IDA L. MUDGE, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Comm'r of Soc. Sec., Defendant.
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER A. BOYKO United States District Judge
matter comes before the Court upon Plaintiff's Objections
(ECF #16) to the Report and Recommendation (ECF #15) of
Magistrate Judge Thomas M. Parker, who recommends that the
Court affirm the Commissioner's decision denying
Plaintiff's claim for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c)(3). For the following reasons, the Court
ADOPTS the Magistrate Judge's Report and
Recommendation and AFFIRMS the
Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's Claim.
following is a procedural synopsis of Plaintiff's Claim.
The Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation contains
a more detailed discussion of the facts. For a complete
overview of Plaintiff's medical history, see the
Magistrate Judge's Report and Recommendation, which
refers to the original Complaint and incorporates all
documents related to the dispute.
22, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI, alleging
she became disabled on November 30, 2002 due to“heart
murmur, a benign brain tumor, depression, asthma, [and]
anxiety.” (Transcript of Proceedings before the Social
Security Administration, 57). Plaintiff later amended her
date of disability, alleging her disability began on May 22,
2014. (Tr. 11). Plaintiff's application was denied by the
Social Security Administration initially and upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 56-88). After the denial, Plaintiff
timely requested an administrative hearing. (Tr. 103-105). An
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) heard
Plaintiff's case on October 25, 2016. A Vocational Expert
(“VE”) testified at the hearing. After the
hearing, the ALJ denied Plaintiff's claim on March 29,
2017. (Tr. 8-50). On February 12, 2019, the Social Security
Appeals Council denied further review, thus rendering the
ALJ's decision the final decision of the Commissioner.
April 10, 2018, Plaintiff filed her Complaint seeking
judicial review of the Commissioner's decision. (ECF #1).
On February 28, 2019, the Magistrate Judge issued his Report
and Recommendation. (ECF #15). On March 14, 2019, Plaintiff
timely filed her Objections to the Magistrate Judge's
Report and Recommendation. (ECF #16). On March 28, 2019,
Defendant timely filed his Response to Plaintiff's
Objections. (ECF #17).
court reviews a magistrate's report and recommendation,
it makes a de novo determination regarding the
portions to which an objection is made. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). A review of the Commissioner's decision,
however, is not de novo. Norman v. Astrue,
694 F.Supp. 2d. 738, 740 (N.D. Ohio 2010). The district
court's review of social security disability cases is
limited to whether substantial evidence in the record
supports the ALJ's findings of fact and whether the ALJ
applied the correct legal standards. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g);
Norman, 694 F.Supp. 2d. at 740 (citing Longworth
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 402 F.3d 591, 595 (6th Cir.
decision must be affirmed if the ALJ's inferences are
reasonably drawn from the record or supported by substantial
evidence, even if that evidence could support a contrary
decision. Elam v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 348 F.3d
124, 125 (6th Cir. 2003). Substantial evidence has been
defined as “more than a mere scintilla” of
evidence. Wright v. Massanari, 321 F.3d 611, 614
(6th Cir. 2003). Further, substantial evidence is evidence a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support the
conclusion. Id. Therefore, if the record contains
information where “a reasonable mind might accept it as
adequate to support” the Commissioner's final
conclusion, then the determination should be affirmed.
Id.; Kirk v. Sec'y of Health & Human
Servs., 667 F.2d 524, 535 (6th Cir. 1981). This
substantial evidence standard “presupposes that there
is a zone of choice within which the decisionmakers can go
either way, without interference by the courts.”
Blakley v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 581 F.3d 399,
406 (6th Cir. 2009) (quoting Mullen v. Brown, 800
F.2d 535, 545 (6th Cir. 1986)).
claimant is entitled to SSI benefits only when they have
established disability under the meaning of the Social
Security Act. See 42 U.S.C. § 423. Disability
may be established by demonstrating an “inability to
engage in substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R.
determine disability, the Commissioner must follow a
five-step sequential analysis. This may be summarized as
(1) If the claimant is doing substantial gainful activity, he
is not disabled.
(2) If the claimant is not doing substantial gainful
activity, his impairment must be severe before he can be