United States District Court, N.D. Ohio, Eastern Division
JOHN F. COLLINS, Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
DAN AARON POLSTER
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
A. RUIZ, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
John F. Collins (Collins or claimant) challenges the final
decision of Defendant Commissioner of Social Security
(Commissioner), denying his applications for a period of
disability (POD), disability insurance benefits (DIB), and
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) under Titles II and XVI of
the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 416(i), 423,
1381 et seq. (Act). This court has jurisdiction
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The issue before the
court is whether the final decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence and, therefore, conclusive.
For the reasons set forth below, the undersigned recommends
that the Commissioner's final decision be affirmed.
September 28, 2015, Collins protectively filed applications
for a POD and DIB, and for SSI benefits, with both
applications alleging disability beginning May 20, 2012. (R.
9, Transcript (“tr.”), at 15, 217-218, 224-227,
245-247, 248-256.) Collins's applications were denied
initially and upon reconsideration. (R. 9, tr., at 68-85,
86-103, 104-105, 106-119, 120- 121.) Thereafter, Collins
filed a request for a hearing before an administrative law
judge (ALJ). (R. 9, tr., at 153-154.)
held the hearing on September 26, 2017. (R. 9, tr., at
29-67.) Collins appeared at the hearing, was represented by
counsel, and testified. (Id. at 31, 33-61.) A
vocational expert (VE) attended the hearing and testified.
(Id. at 31, 61-67.)
January 18, 2018, the ALJ issued his decision, applying the
standard five-step sequential analysis to determine whether
Collins was disabled. (R. 9, tr., at 15-23; see
generally 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a) and
416.920(a).) Based on his review, the ALJ concluded Collins
was not disabled. Id. at 22-23.
Appeals Council denied Collins's request for review, thus
rendering the ALJ's decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. (R. 9, tr., at 1-3.) Collins now seeks judicial
review of the Commissioner's final decision pursuant to
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The parties have completed briefing
in this case.
presents a single legal issue for the court's review,
challenging the ALJ's discussion of Mr. Collins's
statements under Social Security Ruling 16-3P (SSR 16-3P).
(R. 11, PageID #: 880.)
PERSONAL BACKGROUND INFORMATION
was born in 1972, and was 40 years old on the alleged
disability onset date. (R. 9, tr., at 21, 33, 217.)
Accordingly, Collins was considered a younger individual age
18-49 for Social Security purposes. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1563, 416.963. Collins has at least a high
school education and is able to communicate in English. (R.
9, tr., at 21, 36-37, 248, 250.) He has past work as
cook-food prep worker and as a material handler. (R. 9, tr.,
RELEVANT MEDICAL EVIDENCE
issues will be discussed as they arise in Collins's brief
alleging error by the ALJ. As stated above, Collins filed
applications for a POD and DIB, and for SSI benefits, on
September 28, 2015. (R. 9, tr., at 15, 217-218, 224-227.)
Collins listed his physical or mental conditions that limit
his ability to work as: “major depressive disorder,
panic disorder, blood pressure.” Id. at 249.
Collins asserts that his sole assignment of error concerns
the ALJ's assessment of his statements and not the
findings of his physicians (R. 11, PageID #: 880); therefore,
the court will present only a limited summary of the medical
had a physical consultative examination on November 14, 2013,
conducted by Chimezie Amanambu, M.D. (R. 9, tr., at 489-495.)
Collins stated that his chief complaint was that he was
unable to work because of his major depression. Id.
at 493. Manual muscle testing was within normal ranges for
strength and range of motion in all areas. Id. at
489-492. Collins had no headache, neck pain, chest pain,
abdominal pain, or other joint pains, and he was able to
perform his activities of daily living. Id. at 493.
Dr. Amanambu did not find any limitations on Collins's
ability to sit, stand, walk, kneel, bend, twist or crawl.
Id. at 495. The doctor opined that Collins could
perform medium work, but recommended a psychological
evaluation to determine whether claimant's depression
would affect his ability to work productively. Id.
January 5, 2016, state agency reviewing psychologist, Lisa
Foulk, Psy.D., concluded that Collins has medically
determinable impairments (MDIs) of affective disorders
(primary), anxiety disorders (secondary), personality
disorders and essential hypertension. (R. 9, tr., at 77.) Dr.
Foulk assessed that Collins had mild restriction of
activities of daily living; he also assessed moderate
difficulties in maintaining social functioning and in
maintaining concentration, persistence or pace. Id.
at 78 (Psychiatric Review Technique). On reconsideration,
state agency reviewing psychologist, Courtney Zeune, Psy.D.,
adopted Dr. Souder's Psychiatric Review Technique
findings on March 22, 2016. Id. at 111-112.
agency reviewing physician Gerald Klyop, M.D., prepared a
case analysis of the physical medical evidence, on January
27, 2016. (R. 9, tr., at 76-77.) Dr. Klyop reported that
Collins claimed disability due to high blood pressure, but
found that the evidence showed claimant's blood pressure
and diabetes are controlled by medication with no
complications from these conditions. Id. at 77. On
March 21, 2016, state agency reviewing physician Maria
Congbalay, M.D., concurred, upon reconsideration, with Dr.
Klyop's physical assessment. Id. at 110-111.
October 24, 2017, Robert F. Dallara, Ph.D., prepared a
psychological evaluation concerning Collins. (R. 9, tr., at
811-818.) In preparing his evaluation, Dr. Dallara reviewed
some treatment notes, but the evaluation primarily consisted
of a clinical interview with the claimant who “served
as the sole but at times only fair informant.”
Id. at 811. No. psychological testing was conducted.
Id. at 813. Dr. Dallara reported that there was
“a possibility of a Cognitive Disorder; however there
was insufficient evidence to advance the diagnosis.”
Id. at 814. The psychologist offered
“diagnostic impressions” of “Persistent
Depressive Disorder” and “Unspecified Anxiety
Disorder.” Id. Dr. Dallara assessed mild
limitations in claimant's ability to do mental
work-related activities, such as understanding, remembering,
and carrying out instructions, due to depression and anxiety.
Id. at 816. He found moderate impairment of
claimant's abilities to interact appropriately with
others in a work setting. Id. at 817.
made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law in