United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Dublin Division
TONYA L. MCMILLER EVANS, Plaintiff,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
L. McMiller Evans appeals the decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying her applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under the Social Security
Act. Upon consideration of the briefs submitted by both
parties, the record evidence, and the relevant statutory and
case law, the Court REPORTS and
RECOMMENDS the Commissioner's final
decision be AFFIRMED, this civil action be
CLOSED, and a final judgment be
ENTERED in favor of the Commissioner.
protectively applied for DIB on January 22, 2014, and SSI on
August 25, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of December
31, 2012. Tr. (“R.”), pp. 17, 273-86. Plaintiff
was forty-three years old on her alleged disability onset
date and was forty-seven years old at the time the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) issued the
decision under consideration. R. 273. Plaintiff had a
previous disability application denied prior to the current
applications under consideration. R. 323. In the current
application, Plaintiff applied for disability benefits based
on allegations of “rheumatoid arthritis neck down,
” gout, and heart problems. R. 335. Plaintiff graduated
high school in 1989, completed cosmetology school in 1998,
and, prior to her alleged disability, worked as a child care
provider and a teacher's aide. R. 336.
Social Security Administration denied Plaintiff's
applications initially and on reconsideration. R. 126-52.
Plaintiff requested a hearing before an ALJ, (R. 159), and
the ALJ held an initial hearing on September 14, 2016. R.
94-125. At the hearing, the ALJ decided additional evidence
was needed and held a second hearing on January 26, 2017. R.
17, 50-68. The ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff, who was
represented by attorneys J. Frank Smith and Manning Miller,
as well as Vocational Experts (“VE”) Dennis
Patrick Conroy and Tina Baker-Ivey. R. 17, 50-68, 94-125. On
March 21, 2017, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. R.
the sequential process required by 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520 and 416.920, the ALJ found:
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 31, 2012, the alleged onset date.
(C.F.R. §§ 404.1571 et seq. and 416.971
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
obesity, degenerative joint disease of the knees, and
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)).
3. The claimant does not have 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 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d), 404.1525,
404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925 and 416.926).
4. The claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform  sedentary
as defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(a) and
416.967(a) except she can lift twenty pounds occasionally,
[and] ten pounds frequently. During an eight-hour workday,
she can sit for a total of eight hours, [and] stand for two
hours total (ten to fifteen minutes at a time) during an
eight-hour workday. She must avoid climbing ladders, ropes,
or scaffolds, and crawling. She can occasionally climb
stairs, stoop, crouch, or kneel.
5. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and RFC, there are other jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy that the claimant
can perform, (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1569, 404.1569(a),
416.969, and 416.969(a)).
R. 14, 17-27.
the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Plaintiff's
request for review, R. 1-4, the Commissioner's decision
became “final” for the purpose of judicial
review. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Plaintiff then filed this
civil action requesting reversal or remand of that adverse
decision. Plaintiff does not make any specific argument
whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence, but she does (1) request the Court
review her case; and (2) consider newly submitted mental and
physical medical evidence. See Pl.'s Br., doc.
no. 16-1. The Commissioner maintains the administrative
decision is supported by substantial evidence. See
Comm'r's Br., doc. no. 18.