United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Statesville Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
S. Cayer, United States Magistrate Judge
MATTER is before the Court on Plaintiff's
“Motion for Summary Judgment” (document #12) and
Defendant's “Motion for Summary Judgment”
(document #13), as well as the parties' briefs and
parties have consented to Magistrate Judge jurisdiction
pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c) and these Motions are
ripe for disposition.
Court finds that Defendant's decision to deny Plaintiff
Social Security benefits is supported by substantial
evidence. Accordingly, the Court will deny
Plaintiff's Motion for Summary Judgment; grant
Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment; and
affirm the Commissioner's decision.
Court adopts the procedural history as stated in the
filed the present action on March 22, 2019. He alleges that
the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) erred in finding that he
had had a “limited education” as opposed to
finding him illiterate. Plaintiff further alleges that if he
were found illiterate, he would have been deemed disabled
under the Medical-Vocational Guidelines at 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 2, § 202.00 (c). See
Plaintiff's “Memorandum …” at 5-12
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) and §
1383(c)(3), limits this Court's review of a final
decision of the Commissioner to: (1) whether substantial
evidence supports the Commissioner's decision,
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401
(1971); and (2) whether the Commissioner applied the correct
legal standards. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d 1453,
1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Hunter v. Sullivan,
993 F.2d 31, 34 (4th Cir. 1992) (per curiam). The
District Court does not review a final decision of the
Commissioner de novo. Smith v. Schweiker,
795 F.2d 343, 345 (4th Cir. 1986); King v. Califano,
599 F.2d 597, 599 (4th Cir. 1979); Blalock v.
Richardson, 483 F.2d 773, 775 (4th Cir. 1972).
Social Security Act provides, “[t]he findings of the
[Commissioner] as to any fact, if supported by substantial
evidence, shall be conclusive.” 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). In Smith v. Heckler, 782 F.2d 1176, 1179
(4th Cir. 1986), quoting Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971), the Fourth Circuit defined
“substantial evidence” thus:
Substantial evidence has been defined as being “more
than a scintilla and do[ing] more than creat[ing] a suspicion
of the existence of a fact to be established. It means such
relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as
adequate to support a conclusion.”
See also Seacrist v. Weinberger, 538 F.2d 1054,
1056-57 (4th Cir. 1976) (“We note that it is the
responsibility of the [Commissioner] and not the courts to
reconcile inconsistencies in the medical evidence”).
Fourth Circuit has long emphasized that it is not for a
reviewing court to weigh the evidence again, nor to
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner,
assuming the Commissioner's final decision is supported
by substantial evidence. Hays v. Sullivan, 907 F.2d
at 1456 (4th Cir. 1990); see also Smith v.
Schweiker, 795 F.2d at 345; and Blalock v.
Richardson, 483 F.2d at 775. Indeed, this is true even
if the reviewing court disagrees with the outcome - so long
as there is “substantial evidence” in the record
to support the final decision below. Lester v.
Schweiker, 683 F.2d 838, 841 (4th Cir. 1982).
question before the ALJ was whether Plaintiff became disabled
at any time. The Court has carefully reviewed the
record, the authorities and the parties' arguments. The
ALJ did not find Plaintiff disabled based upon a
Medical-Vocational Rule. Rather, the ALJ relied upon the
testimony of a Vocational Expert. Plaintiff has not
challenged this testimony. (Tr. 26). The ALJ applied the