United States District Court, D. Colorado
ARTHUR B. ELLSWORTH, Plaintiff,
NANCY BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations, performing the duties and functions not reserved to the Commissioner of Social Security,  Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING DEPUTY COMMISSIONER
E. BLACKBURN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter before me is plaintiff's
Complaint [#1],  filed May 5, 2017, seeking
review of the Deputy 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 Deputy 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 attention deficit
hyperactivity disorder (“ADHA”), anxiety, and a
learning disorder. 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
February 4, 2016. At the time of the hearing, plaintiff was
30 years old. He has a high school education and no past
relevant work experience. He has not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since January 1, 2007, 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. Other impairments, in particular ADHD, were
found non-severe. The ALJ determined plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity to perform a full range of
unskilled work at all exertional levels with certain
non-exertional limitations. Plaintiff had no past relevant
work, but 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).
Deputy Commissioner has established a quinquepartite
sequential evaluation process for determining whether a
claimant is disabled:
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. § 416.920(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 Deputy 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 ...