United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Augusta Division
MAGISTRATE JUDGE'S REPORT AND
K. EPPS, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Lewis Hudson appeals the decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security denying his application for 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.
received Supplemental Social Security income benefits as a
child based on the Social Security Administration's
decision on February 1, 2011, which determined disability as
of August 13, 1996 for borderline intellectual functioning.
Tr. (“R.”), pp. 25, 82-84. Because Plaintiff
turned eighteen on August 25, 2011, the Social Security
Administration redetermined whether Plaintiff was disabled
under the rules for determining disability in adults pursuant
to 20 C.F.R. § 416.987. R. 82-84. Plaintiff completed a
Disability Report on February 1, 2012 as an adult. R.
197-202. Plaintiff has an eleventh-grade education, has not
obtained his GED, but has attended some classes in an attempt
to obtain his GED. R. 55, 198. Plaintiff has never worked. R.
198, 203-08. On April 18, 2012, the Social Security
Administration denied Plaintiff's redetermination of
supplemental benefits as an adult. Id.
April 24, 2012, Plaintiff requested reconsideration of the
April 18th redetermination, and on May 22, 2014, a Disability
Hearing Officer issued a Report of Disability Hearing,
finding Plaintiff was not disabled. R. 92-112. Plaintiff
requested a hearing before an ALJ, R. 116-19, and the ALJ
held a hearing on June 21, 2016. R. 48-79. At the hearing,
the ALJ heard testimony from Plaintiff, represented by
attorney William R. McCracken, Eva M. Williams,
Plaintiff's mother, and Carl Weldon, a Vocational Expert
(“VE”). Id. On August 11, 2016, the ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision. R. 22-47.
October 21, 2016, Plaintiff requested review of the ALJ's
decision from the Appeals Council (“AC”), and on
October 11, 2017, the AC granted Plaintiff's request for
review. R. 177-88. In the AC's October 11th
correspondence with Plaintiff, the AC notified Plaintiff it
was (1) including the additional severe impairment of
Asperger's Disorder to the ALJ's determination; (2)
evaluating Plaintiff's medical impairments under the
newly revised regulatory criteria of Listing 12.00, revised
on January 17, 2017; (3) allowing Plaintiff an opportunity to
provide a statement or additional information; and (4)
planning to still find Plaintiff is not disabled. R. 182-88.
Plaintiff provided a statement, R. 342-44, which the AC
considered, but on February 1, 2018, the AC issued an
unfavorable decision. R. 4-9.
the sequential process required by 20 C.F.R. § 416.920
and adopting the ALJ's “findings or conclusions
regarding whether [Plaintiff] is disabled, ” the AC
1. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the cessation date of April 30, 2012.
2. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
borderline intellectual functioning, depression,
schizoaffective disorder, and Asperger's disorder, but
does not have an impairment or combination of impairments
which is listed in, or which is medically equal to an
impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix
3. The claimant's combination of impairments results in
the following limitations on his ability to perform
work-related activities: a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with nonexertional limitations that the
claimant can do simple one to two step tasks on a sustained
basis for eight hours a day, five days a week; the claimant
would require a low stress work environment, non-production
work with no fast paced work like an assembly line; and the
claimant should have no public contact and only occasional
contact with co-workers.
4. If the claimant were capable of performing the full range
of work at all exertional levels, Medical-Vocational Rule
204.00 would direct a finding of “not disabled.”
However, the claimant's additional limitations
significantly erode the occupational base for work at all
exertional levels. Therefore, based upon vocational expert
testimony regarding a significant number of jobs the claimant
could perform, we adopt the finding of the [ALJ] that the
claimant was not disabled by applying the framework of
Medical-Vocational Rule 204.00.
April 5, 2018, Plaintiff filed this civil action requesting
reversal or remand of the adverse decision of the ALJ, as
modified by the AC. (Doc. no. 1.) Plaintiff argues the
Commissioner's decision is not supported by substantial
evidence because (1) the ALJ erred by finding Plaintiff did
not meet the Medical Listing 12.05C in effect at the time of
the ALJ's decision; (2) the ALJ gave great weight to the
initial medical evaluations even though these evaluations did
not consider subsequently admitted medical evidence of
Plaintiff; and (3) the AC did not apply the same version of
the Medical Listings as the ALJ. See doc. no. 11
(“Pl.'s Br.”). The Commissioner maintains the
decision to deny Plaintiff benefits is supported by
substantial evidence and should therefore be affirmed.
See doc. no. 14.