United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER
E. BLACKBURN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter before me is plaintiff's
Complaint [#1],  filed March 20, 2017,
seeking review of the Commissioner's decision denying
plaintiff's claims for child's disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income benefits under
Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§ 401, et seq. I have jurisdiction to review
the Commissioner's final decision under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). The matter has been fully briefed, obviating the need
for oral argument. I affirm.
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
alleges that he is disabled as a result of congenital lumbar
spinal stenosis, lumbar herniated disc, and obesity. After
his applications for child's disability insurance
benefits and supplemental security income benefits were
denied, plaintiff requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge. This hearing was held on August 20,
2015. At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was 24 years old.
He has some level of high school education and no past
relevant work experience. He has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since January 22, 2010, his alleged date of
found plaintiff was not disabled and therefore not entitled
to child's disability insurance benefits or supplemental
security income benefits. Although the medical evidence
established plaintiff suffered from severe impairments, the
judge found the severity of those impairments did not meet or
equal any impairment listed in the social security
regulations. The ALJ determined plaintiff had the residual
functional capacity to perform a range of sedentary,
unskilled work with certain postural restrictions, including
particularly the ability to sit and stand at will. Because
plaintiff had no past relevant work, the ALJ found there were
other jobs existing in substantial numbers in the national
and local economies he could perform. He therefore found
plaintiff not disabled at step five of the sequential
evaluation. Plaintiff appealed this decision to the
Appeals Council. The Council affirmed. Plaintiff then filed
this action in federal court.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
person is disabled within the meaning of the Social Security
Act only if his physical and/or mental impairments preclude
him from performing both his previous work and any other
“substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2). “When a
claimant has one or more severe impairments the Social
Security [Act] requires the [Commissioner] to consider the
combined effects of the impairments in making a disability
determination.” Campbell v. Bowen, 822 F.2d
1518, 1521 (10th Cir. 1987) (citing 42 U.S.C.
§ 423(d)(2)(C)). However, the mere existence of a severe
impairment or combination of impairments does not require a
finding that an individual is disabled within the meaning of
the Social Security Act. To be disabling, the claimant's
condition must be so functionally limiting as to preclude any
substantial gainful activity for at least twelve consecutive
months. See Kelley v. Chater, 62 F.3d 335, 338
(10th Cir. 1995).
Commissioner has established a quinquepartite sequential
evaluation process for determining whether a claimant is
1. The ALJ must first ascertain whether the claimant is
engaged in substantial gainful activity. A claimant who is
working is not disabled regardless of the medical findings.
2. The ALJ must then determine whether the claimed impairment
is “severe.” A “severe impairment”
must significantly limit the claimant's physical or
mental ability to do basic work activities.
3. The ALJ must then determine if the impairment meets or
equals in severity certain impairments described in Appendix
1 of the regulations.
4. If the claimant's impairment does not meet or equal a
listed impairment, the ALJ must determine whether the
claimant can perform her past work despite any limitations.
5. If the claimant does not have the residual functional
capacity to perform her past work, the ALJ must decide
whether the claimant can perform any other gainful and
substantial work in the economy. This determination is made
on the basis of the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity.
20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(I)-(v).See also
Williams v. Bowen844 F.2d 748, 750-52 (10th
Cir. 1988). The claimant has the initial burden of
establishing a disability in the first four steps of this
analysis. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n.5,
107 S.Ct. 2287, 2294 n.5, 96 L.Ed.2d 119 (1987). The burden
then shifts to the Commissioner to show the claimant is
capable of performing work in the national economy.
Id. A finding that the claimant is disabled or not
disabled at any point in the five-step review is ...