United States District Court, D. Colorado
Brooke Jackson United States District Judge
matter is before the Court on review of the Social Security
Administration (SSA) Commissioner's decision denying
claimant Uc Gia Bui's application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
Social Security Act and for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI. Jurisdiction is proper
under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). For the reasons explained
below, the Court AFFIRMS the Commissioner's decision.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
appeal is based upon the administrative record and the
parties' briefs. In reviewing a final decision by the
Commissioner, the District Court examines the record and
determines whether it contains substantial evidence to
support the Commissioner's decision and whether the
Commissioner applied the correct legal standards. Winfrey
v. Chater, 92 F.3d 1017, 1019 (10th Cir. 1996). A
decision is not based on substantial evidence if it is
“overwhelmed by other evidence in the record.”
Bernal v. Bowen, 851 F.2d 297, 299 (10th Cir. 1988).
Substantial evidence requires “more than a scintilla,
but less than a preponderance.” Wall v.
Astrue, 561 F.3d 1048, 1052 (10th Cir. 2009). Evidence
is not substantial if it “constitutes mere
conclusion.” Musgrave v. Sullivan, 966 F.2d
1371, 1374 (10th Cir. 1992). In addition, reversal may be
appropriate if the Commissioner applies an incorrect legal
standard or fails to demonstrate that the correct legal
standards have been followed. Winfrey, 92 F.3d at
was born on May 20, 1975. R. 240. He has minimal education
and speaks English with some difficulty. Id. In the
last fifteen years Mr. Bui has worked in production assembly,
in retail sales, as a materials handler, and as a waiter in a
Vietnamese restaurant. R. 191, 240. Since his alleged
disability onset date of March 20, 2013, however, Mr. Bui has
not held substantial gainful employment. R. 12.
suffers from blindness and pain in his right eye as a result
of an accident when he was seven years old. R. 240-41. He
received a prosthetic eye once he immigrated to the United
States. Id. Mr. Bui alleges the condition of his
right eye affects his depth perception, ability to
concentrate, read, or perform detailed work. Id. He
also alleges he is incapable of maintaining the pace required
for even simple work because of the pain. Id.
16, 2013, Mr. Bui filed for DIB and SSI, alleging disability
beginning on March 20, 2013. R. 144-58. His claims were
initially denied on October 22, 2013. R. 56-59. Mr. Bui
requested a hearing on November 1, 2013. R. 60-62. The
hearing was held before Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) Marsha R. Stroup on September 26, 2014.
R. 24. The ALJ denied Mr. Bui's application on November
17, 2014. R. 7-19. Mr. Bui then filed a request for review
with the Appeals Council on November 28, 2014. R. 6. His
request was denied on January 13, 2016. R. 1-3. Mr. Bui then
filed his case in this court on March 11, 2016. ECF No. 1.
The ALJ's Decision
issued an unfavorable decision after evaluating the evidence
according to the SSA's standard five-step process. R.
10-19. First, the ALJ found that Mr. Bui has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since his alleged onset date of
March 20, 2013. R. 12. At step two, the ALJ found that Mr.
Bui had the severe impairments of “blindness in the
right eye, entropion of the right eyelid, suspect glaucoma of
the left eye, and left eye myopia with astigmatism.”
Id. At step three, the ALJ concluded that Mr. Bui
did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
met or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. R.
then found that Mr. Bui retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform “medium
work” as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(c) and
§ 416.967(c) with the following limitations:
[T]he claimant can perform unskilled work without English
requirements on the job. The claimant cannot perform work
with very small parts due to no vision in his right eye which
affects his depth perception. The claimant cannot work around
hazards, around dusts, or other ...