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Leverett v. Colvin

United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Macon Division

November 20, 2014

DONNY LYNN LEVERETT, Jr., Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant

For DONNY LYNN LEVERETT, JR, Plaintiff: DANIEL LEWIS WILDER, LEAD ATTORNEY, MACON, GA; Emmett L. Goodman, Jr., LEAD ATTORNEY, Macon, GA.

For CAROLYN W COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant: H RANDOLPH ADERHOLD, JR, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, MACON, GA.

Charles H. Weigle, United States Magistrate Judge.

Social Security Appeal

REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION

This is a review of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff Donny Lynn Leverett, Jr.'s application for benefits. Because the Commissioner's decision is based on the application of proper legal standards and is supported by substantial evidence, it is RECOMMENDED that the Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.

BACKGROUND

This is an " Age 18 Redetermination" case. (R. 30). See 20 C.F.R. § 416.987 (" Disability redeterminations for individuals who attain age 18"). Plaintiff received Title XVI benefits as a child, but upon turning 18 in May 2008, the Social Security Administration reassessed Plaintiff's eligibility using the rules applicable to adults and found that Plaintiff was no longer " disabled." (R. 56-57, 72-74, 98-100). Plaintiff requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (" ALJ"), but on July 23, 2012, the reviewing ALJ found that Plaintiff's impairments--bipolar disorder, ADHD and tremors of the hands--did not prevent Plaintiff from performing any substantial gainful activity. Specifically, the ALJ determined that as of March 1, 2010, Plaintiff had the capacity to perform a full range of exertional work subject to non-exertional limitations requiring that Plaintiff perform only simple tasks not involving " extremely detailed handwork." (R. 16). The ALJ also found that Plaintiff should have " no interaction with the general public or close teamwork with co-workers." (Id.).

After receiving the ALJ's unfavorable decision, Plaintiff sought review before the Appeals Council by raising the same claim he raises in the instant appeal: that the ALJ " failed to credit the psychological evidence of record including the reports of Drs. Horwitz, Hicks, and Rose." (R. 264-69). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on October 10, 2013, (R. 1-3), and Plaintiff now seeks review before this Court pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).

STANDARD OF REVIEW

Judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is limited to a determination of whether that decision is supported by substantial evidence, as well as whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011). " Substantial evidence" is defined as " more than a scintilla, " and as " such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion." Id. The Eleventh Circuit has explained that reviewing courts may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute their judgment for that of the Commissioner. Id. Rather, if the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence, that decision must be affirmed even if the evidence preponderates against it.

EVALUATION OF DISAIBLITY

Social Security claimants are " disabled" if they are unable to engage in any 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).

The Social Security Regulations outline a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether a claimant is disabled: " (1) whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful activity; (2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the impairment meets or equals the severity of the specified impairments in the Listing of impairments; (4) based on a residual functional capacity (" RFC") assessment, whether the claimant can perform any of his or her past relevant work despite the impairment; and (5) whether there are significant numbers of jobs in the national economy that the claimant can perform given the claimant's RFC, ...


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