United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MIRANDO, United States Magistrate Judge.
April Young, on behalf of D.Y., a minor, appeals the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“Commissioner”) denying her
child's claim for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). For the reasons discussed herein, the
decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
Issue on Appeal
raises one issue on appeal: whether the Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”) failed to fully and fairly consider
or develop the evidence of record.
Procedural History and Summary of the ALJ's
April 10, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI on
behalf of her minor child, D.Y., born on August 10, 2006,
alleging disability that began on April 1, 2012 due to
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(“ADHD”), asthma, allergies, and stomach issues.
Tr. 77, 87, 162-67. The Social Security Administration denied
the claim initially on June 28, 2012 and upon reconsideration
on August 28, 2012. Tr. 77-105; 110-115. Plaintiff then
requested and received a hearing before ALJ Erik Eklund on
May 6, 2014, during which she was represented by an attorney.
Tr. 41; 116-18. Plaintiff and D.Y. testified at the
hearing. Tr. 41-75.
28, 2014, the ALJ issued a decision finding D.Y. is not
disabled and denying his claim. Tr. 24-36. The ALJ first
determined that D.Y. has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since April 10, 2012, the application date. Tr. 27.
Next, the ALJ found D.Y. has the following severe
impairments: attention deficit hyperactive disorder, asthma,
allergies, headaches, and gastrointestinal issues.
Id. At step three, the ALJ found D.Y. “does
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.”
into account all relevant evidence, the ALJ then determined
D.Y. did not have an impairment or combination of impairments
that results in either “marked” limitation in two
domains of functioning, or “extreme” limitation
in one domain of functioning, as is required to functionally
meet a listing. Tr. 25-36; 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(d).
Accordingly, the ALJ found D.Y. is not disabled, and denied
his claim. Tr. 27.
the ALJ's decision, Plaintiff filed a request for review
by the Appeals Council, which was denied on December 11,
2015. Tr. 1-3. Thus, the ALJ's May 28, 2014 decision is
the final decision of the Commissioner. Plaintiff filed an
appeal in this Court on February 11, 2016. Doc. 1. Both
parties have consented to the jurisdiction of the United
States Magistrate Judge, and this matter is now ripe for
review. Docs. 15; 17.
Social Security Act Eligibility and Standard of
individual under the age of eighteen is disabled for purposes
of seeking child SSI benefits when he has a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which results in
marked and severe functional limitations and can be expected
to either result in death or last for a continuous period of
not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(C)(i). The Commissioner has established a
three-step sequential analysis for evaluating a claim of
disability for a child. To qualify for benefits, the child
claimant must show that: (1) he is not engaging in
substantial gainful activity; (2) he has an impairment or
combination of impairments that is severe; and (3) his
impairment or combination of impairments meets, medically
equals, or functionally equals a listed impairment. 20 C.F.R.
three, the Commissioner determines whether the claimant has
an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. If
not, the Commissioner decides whether it results in
limitations that functionally equal the listings. 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.926a(a). In determining whether an impairment or
combination of impairments functionally equals the listings,
the Commissioner assesses the claimant's functioning in
terms of six domains: (1) acquiring and using information;
(2) attending and completing tasks; (3) interacting and
relating with others; (4) moving about and manipulating
objects; (5) caring for yourself; and (6) health and physical
well-being. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(b)(1). To functionally
equal the listings, the claimant's impairment or
combination of impairments must result in
“marked” limitations in two domains of
functioning or an “extreme” limitation in one
domain. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(d). A “marked
limitation” in a domain results when the child's
impairment(s) “interferes seriously” with the
ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete
activities. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(e)(2). An
“extreme limitation” in a domain results when the
child's impairment(s) interferes “very
seriously” with his ability to independently initiate,
sustain, or complete activities. 20 C.F.R. §
scope of this Court's review is limited to determining
whether the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and
whether the findings are supported by substantial evidence.
McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir.
1988) (citing Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
390 (1971)). The Commissioner's findings of fact are
conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Substantial evidence is “more than a
scintilla, i.e., evidence that must do more than
create a suspicion of the existence of the fact to be
established, and such relevant evidence as a reasonable
person would accept as adequate to support the
conclusion.” Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d 1553,
1560 (11th Cir. 1995) (internal citations omitted); see
also Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir.
2005) (finding that “[s]ubstantial evidence is
something more than a mere scintilla, but less than a
preponderance”) (internal citation omitted).
Eleventh Circuit has restated that “[i]n determining
whether substantial evidence supports a decision, we give
great deference to the ALJ's fact findings.”
Hunter v. Soc. Sec. Admin., Comm'r, 808 F.3d
818, 822 (11th Cir. 2015) (citing Black Diamond Coal Min.
Co. v. Dir., OWCP, 95 F.3d 1079, 1082 (11th Cir. 1996)).
Where the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence, the court will affirm, even if the
reviewer would have reached a contrary result as finder of
fact, and even if the reviewer finds that the preponderance
of the evidence is against the Commissioner's decision.
Edwards v. Su livan, 937 F.2d 580,
584 n.3 (11th Cir. 1991); Barnes v. Su
livan, 932 F.2d 1356, 1358 (11th Cir.
1991). “The district court must view the record as a
whole, taking into account evidence favorable as well as
unfavorable to the decision.” Foote, 67 F.3d
at 1560; see also Lowery v. Su
livan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir.
1992) (stating that the court must scrutinize the entire
record to determine the reasonableness of the factual