United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
Cogburn, Jr. United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the court on the parties'
opposing Motions for Summary Judgment. (Doc. Nos. 11, 13).
The matter is ripe for review. Having carefully considered
such motions and reviewed the pleadings, the court enters the
following findings, conclusions, and Order.
applied for a period of disability and disability insurance
benefits under Title II of the Act and supplemental security
income under Title XVI of the Act in October 2014 and
February 2015, respectively. (Tr. 173, 175). She alleged she
became unable to work on September 15, 2014. (Tr. 173, 175).
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 86, 96, 104). She requested a hearing
before an ALJ, (Tr. 114), and a hearing was held before an
ALJ on October 21, 2016. (Tr. 39). After considering the
hearing testimony and the other relevant evidence of record,
the ALJ issued a written decision, finding that Plaintiff was
not disabled within the meaning of the Act during the period
from her alleged onset date through the date of the decision,
February 23, 2017. (Tr. 23). The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request to review the ALJ's decision on
May 30, 2018, making the ALJ's decision the
Commissioner's final administrative decision. (Tr. 1).
Having exhausted her administrative remedies, Plaintiff
commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking
judicial review of the decision.
appearing that the ALJ's findings of fact are supported
by substantial evidence, the court adopts and incorporates
such findings herein as if fully set forth. Such findings are
referenced in the substantive discussion which follows.
Standard of Review
Court's review of the Commissioner's determination is
limited to evaluating whether the findings are supported by
substantial evidence and whether the correct law was applied.
Mascio v. Colvin, 780 F.3d 632, 634 (4th Cir. 2015).
“Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Johnson v. Barnhart, 434 F.3d
650, 653 (4th Cir. 2005) (internal quotation marks omitted).
A reviewing court does not reweigh evidence or make
credibility determinations in evaluating whether a decision
is supported by substantial evidence; “[w]here
conflicting evidence allows reasonable minds to differ as to
whether a claimant is disabled, ” this Court will defer
to the Commissioner's decision. Id. (internal
quotation marks omitted). Thus, the only issues on review are
whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards
and whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence. Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 390 (1971); Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d
1453, 1456 (4th Cir. 1990).
court has read the transcript of Plaintiff's
administrative hearing, closely read the decision of the ALJ,
and reviewed the relevant exhibits contained in the extensive
administrative record. The issue is not whether a court might
have reached a different conclusion had it been presented
with the same testimony and evidentiary materials, but
whether the decision of the administrative law judge is
supported by substantial evidence. The court finds that the
ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence.
five-step process, known as “sequential” review,
is used by the Commissioner in determining whether a Social
Security claimant is disabled. The Commissioner evaluates a
disability claim ...