United States District Court, D. Maine
REPORT AND RECOMMENDED DECISION
C. NIVISON U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Plaintiff's application for supplemental security income
benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security Act (the
Act), Defendant Saul, the Social Security Administration
Commissioner, found that Plaintiff has severe impairments,
but retains the functional capacity to perform substantial
gainful activity. Defendant, therefore, denied
Plaintiff's request for disability benefits. Plaintiff
filed this action to obtain judicial review of
Defendant's final administrative decision pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
received supplemental security income benefits based on his
disability as a child. Pursuant to section 1614(a)(3)(H) of
the Act, an individual who is eligible for supplemental
security income benefits as a child for the month preceding
the month in which he or she attains age 18 must have his or
her disability redetermined under the rules that govern
disability determinations for adults.
a review of the record, and after consideration of the
parties' arguments, I recommend the Court affirm the
Commissioner's final decision is the June 8, 2018,
decision of the Administrative Law Judge. (ALJ Decision, ECF
No. 9-2). The ALJ's decision tracks the familiar
five-step sequential evaluation process for analyzing social
security disability claims, 20 C.F.R. § 416.920.
found that Plaintiff has severe, but non-listing-level
impairments consisting of affective disorder, anxiety
disorder and personality disorder (singly and in
combination). (R. 14.) The ALJ did not find that the
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and
oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) claimed by Plaintiff were
severe impairments. Based on his review of the record, the
ALJ determined that the Plaintiff has the residual functional
capacity (RFC) to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels, but was limited to performing simple,
repetitive work-related tasks in a non-fast production-paced
setting (not including assembly line type work), involving no
interaction with the public and only occasional interaction
with supervisors and coworkers, and with no team/tandem
collaborative type work. (R. 17-18.)
has no past relevant work. After considering Plaintiff's
age, education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ found that
jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that Plaintiff can perform, including hand packer, price
marker and table worker inspector. (R. 25.)
must affirm the administrative decision provided the decision
is based on the correct legal standards and is supported by
substantial evidence, even if the record contains evidence
capable of supporting an alternative outcome.
Manso-Pizarro v. Sec'y of HHS, 76 F.3d 15, 16
(1st Cir. 1996) (per curiam); Rodriguez Pagan v.
Sec'y of HHS, 819 F.2d 1, 3 (1st Cir. 1987).
Substantial evidence is evidence that a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a finding. Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Rodriguez v.
Sec'y of HHS, 647 F.2d 218, 222 (1st Cir. 1981).
“The ALJ's findings of fact are conclusive when
supported by substantial evidence, but they are not
conclusive when derived by ignoring evidence, misapplying the
law, or judging matters entrusted to experts.”
Nguyen v. Chater, 172 F.3d 31, 35 (1st Cir. 1999).
argues the ALJ erred when he failed to find at step 2 that
Plaintiff has severe impairments of ADHD and ODD. Plaintiff
further argues that the ALJ's RFC assessment was not
supported by substantial evidence and thus the vocational
expert's testimony was not relevant.
2 of the sequential evaluation process, a claimant must
demonstrate the existence of impairments that are
“severe” from a vocational perspective, and that
the impairments meet the durational requirement of the Social
Security Act. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(ii). The step 2
requirement of “severe” impairment imposes a
de minimis burden, designed merely to screen
groundless claims. McDonald v. Sec'y of HHS, 795
F.2d 1118, 1123 (1st Cir. 1986). An impairment or combination
of impairments is not severe when the medical evidence
“establishes only a slight abnormality or combination
of slight abnormalities which would have no more than a
minimal effect on an individual's ability to work even if
the individual's age, education, or work experience were
specifically considered.” Id. at ...