United States District Court, W.D. Michigan, Southern Division
TONYA HUTCHINGS o.b.o. T.K.H., Plaintiff,
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
S. CARMODY, U.S. Magistrate Judge
an action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to review a final decision of
the Commissioner of Social Security denying Plaintiff's
claim that her son is entitled to Supplemental Security
Income (SSI) benefits under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act. Section 405(g) limits the Court to a review of the
administrative record and provides that if the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence it shall be conclusive. Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1)(B), authorizing United States Magistrate Judges to
submit proposed findings of fact and recommendations for
disposition of social security appeals, the undersigned
recommends that the Commissioner's decision be
Court's jurisdiction is confined to a review of the
Commissioner's decision and of the record made in the
administrative hearing process. See Willbanks v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Services, 847 F.2d 301,
303 (6th Cir. 1988). The scope of judicial review in a social
security case is limited to determining whether the
Commissioner applied the proper legal standards in making her
decision and whether there exists in the record substantial
evidence supporting that decision. See Brainard v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Services, 889 F.2d 679,
681 (6th Cir. 1989).
Court may not conduct a de novo review of the case, resolve
evidentiary conflicts, or decide questions of credibility.
See Garner v. Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir.
1984). It is the Commissioner who is charged with finding the
facts relevant to an application for disability benefits, and
her findings are conclusive provided they are supported by
substantial evidence. See42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but less than
a preponderance. See Cohen v. Sec'y of Dep't of
Health and Human Services, 964 F.2d 524, 528 (6th Cir.
1992) (citations omitted). It is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389,
401 (1971); Bogle v. Sullivan, 998 F.2d 342, 347
(6th Cir. 1993). In determining the substantiality of the
evidence, the Court must consider the evidence on the record
as a whole and take into account whatever in the record
fairly detracts from its weight. See Richardson v.
Sec'y of Health and Human Services, 735 F.2d 962,
963 (6th Cir. 1984).
been widely recognized, the substantial evidence standard
presupposes the existence of a zone within which the decision
maker can properly rule either way, without judicial
interference. See Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545
(6th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted). This standard affords to
the administrative decision maker considerable latitude, and
indicates that a decision supported by substantial evidence
will not be reversed simply because the evidence would have
supported a contrary decision. See Bogle, 998 F.2d
at 347; Mullen, 800 F.2d at 545.
son (T.K.H.) was born on December 6, 2002. (PageID.188). On
June 5, 2013, Plaintiff submitted an application for
disability benefits, asserting that her son has been disabled
since January 1, 2010, due to ADHD, learning disabilities,
and depression. (PageID.188-91, 205). Plaintiff's
application was denied, after which time she requested a
hearing before an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ).
(PageID.96-186). On August 11, 2015, ALJ Romona Scales
conducted an administrative hearing at which Plaintiff and
T.K.H. testified. (PageID.67-94). In a written decision dated
December 29, 2015, the ALJ determined that T.K.H. was not
disabled. (PageID.48-62). The Appeals Council declined to
review this determination, rendering it the
Commissioner's final decision in the matter.
(PageID.38-40). Plaintiff subsequently initiated this appeal
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
notes dated May 10, 2011, indicate that T.K.H.'s symptoms
are “somewhat improved” with medication.
(PageID.431). On June 13, 2011, Plaintiff reported that
T.K.H.'s medications were “working better.”
(PageID.429). On July 8, 2011, T.K.H. reported that his
medications “help him to focus on things.”
(PageID.427). Treatment notes dated November 9, 2011,
indicate that T.K.H. was doing well on his current medication
December 8, 2011, T.K.H. participated in a consultive
psychological examination. (PageID.274-79). The results of a
mental status examination were unremarkable. (PageID.277-78).
T.K.H. was diagnosed with ADHD and his GAF score was rated as
(PageID.279). The examiner concluded:
The patient is a nine year old boy. He has a diagnosis of
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder for which he is
being successfully treated with prescription medication. He
continues to perform below grade level in reading and
writing, but he interacts appropriately with school
authorities and peers. He does not have any difficulty moving
about, manipulating objects, or performing age-appropriate
self care tasks.
notes dated February 6, 2012, indicate that T.K.H. exhibited
“normal mood and affect” and “his mood
appears not anxious.” (PageID.501). It was further
noted that T.K.H.”does not express impulsivity”
and “does not exhibit a depressed mood.”
(PageID.501). Treatment notes dated March 5, 2012, indicate
that “school has been going well” for T.K.H. and
his “mom feels he is doing ok.” (PageID.510).
Treatment notes dated April 9, 2012, indicate that T.K.H.
“is attentive” and “does not exhibit a
depressed mood.” (PageID.521). The doctor also noted
that T.K.H. was “not anxious. . .not angry. . .not
hyperactive. . .[and] does not express impulsivity.”
(PageID.521). Treatment notes dated May 25, 2012, indicate
that “things are going ok at school” for T.K.H.
notes dated June 12, 2012, indicate that T.K.H. was
“doing well” with no evidence of behavioral
problems. (PageID.544). Treatment notes dated August 17,
2012, indicate that T.K.H. was “doing well.”
(PageID.566). Treatment notes dated September 17, 2012,
indicate that T.K.H. was “doing well at school as far
as behavior.” (PageID.576). Treatment notes dated
January 15, 2013, indicate that T.K.H. was doing “much
better” on a modified ...