United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
G. WILSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff in this case seeks judicial review of the denial of
her claim for supplemental security income
payments. Because the decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security, is supported by substantial evidence and
contains no reversible error, I recommend that the decision
plaintiff, who was fifty-two years old at the time of the
administrative hearing and who has an eleventh-grade
education (Tr. 139), has worked as a cashier and housekeeper
(Tr. 140). She filed a claim for supplemental security income
payments, alleging that she became disabled due to
"COPD, diabetes, dieabetic [sic] neuropathy legs,
obesity, arthritis in back [and] diverticulitis" (Tr.
296). The claim was denied initially and upon
request, the plaintiff received a de novo hearing
before an administrative law judge. The law judge found that
the plaintiff had severe impairments of obesity, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, neuropathy, and back
impairments (Tr. 13). Notably, he found that the plaintiffs
diverticulitis was a non-severe impairment (Tr. 14). He
concluded that, with those impairments, the plaintiff was
limited to light work with no climbing of ladders, ropes or
scaffolds and only occasional balancing, stooping, kneeling,
crouching, crawling and climbing of ramps and stairs, but
must avoid concentrated exposure to irritants, such as fumes,
odors, dust, and gases (Tr. 18). The law judge determined
that the plaintiff had no past relevant work (Tr. 21).
.However, based upon the testimony of a vocational expert,
the law judge found that jobs existed in significant numbers
in the national economy that the plaintiff could perform,
such as inspector, office helper, and packer (Tr. 22).
Consequently, the law judge decided on November 1, 2017, that
the plaintiff was not disabled (id.).
plaintiff sought review of that decision from the Appeals
Council. With that request, the plaintiff submitted
additional evidence, some of which pre-dated the law
judge's decision, and some post-dated it (Tr. 2). The
Appeals Council stated that "[w]e find this evidence
does not show a reasonable probability that it would change
the outcome of the decision" (id.). Thus, the
Appeals Council denied review, so that the law judge's
decision became the final decision of the Commissioner (Tr.
order to be entitled to supplemental security income, a
claimant must be unable "to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which ... has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months." 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A). A
"physical or mental impairment," under the terms of
the Social Security Act, is one "that results from
anatomical, .physiological, or psychological abnormalities
which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C.
determination by the Commissioner that a claimant is not
disabled must be upheld if it is supported by substantial
evidence. 42 U.S.C. 405(g). 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),
quoting Consolidated Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S.
197, 229 (1938). Under the substantial evidence test,
"findings of fact made by administrative agencies ...
may be reversed ... only when the record compels a reversal;
the mere fact that the record may support a contrary
conclusion is not enough to justify a reversal of the
administrative findings." Adefemi v. Ashcroft,
386 F.3d 1022, 1027 (11th Cir. 2004) (en banc),
cert, denied. 544 U.S. 1035 (2005).
moreover, the function of the Commissioner, and not the
courts, to resolve conflicts in the evidence and to assess
the credibility of the witnesses. Grant v.
Richardson, 445 F.2d 656 (5th Cir. 1971).
Similarly, it is the responsibility of the Commissioner to
draw inferences from the evidence, and those inferences are
not to be overturned if they are supported by substantial
evidence. Celebrezze v. O'Brient, 323 F.2d 989,
990 (5th Cir. 1963).
in determining whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence, the court is not to
reweigh the evidence, but. is limited to determining whether
the record as a whole contains sufficient evidence to permit
a reasonable mind to conclude that the claimant is not
disabled. However, the court, in its review, must satisfy
itself that the proper legal standards were applied and legal
requirements were met. Lamb v. Bpwen, 847 F.2d 698,
701 (11th Cir. 1988).
The plaintiff purports to assert two challenges to the
administrative decision (Doc. 27, p. 2):
(1) The Appeals Council's decision that the evidence
submitted to it, subsequent to the Administrative Law Judge
decision, does not show a reasonable probability that it
would change the outcome of the Administrative Law Judge
decision, was in error; (2) The Appeals Council's
decision was in error in failing to find that evidence
submitted to it, pertaining to the period of time after the
Administrative Law Judge decision, was not material, and by
failing to include language in the decision that if the
claimant made a new application for benefits within 60 days
from the date of ...