United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Fort Wayne Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM C. LEE, District Judge.
This matter is before the court for judicial review of a final decision of the defendant Commissioner of Social Security Administration denying Plaintiff's application for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Child's Disability as provided for in the Social Security Act. 42 U.S.C. §416(I); 42 U.S.C. §423; 42 U.S.C. §§ 1382, 1382c(a)(3). Section 205(g) of the Act provides, inter alia, "[a]s part of his answer, the [Commissioner] shall file a certified copy of the transcript of the record including the evidence upon which the findings and decision complained of are based. The court shall have the power to enter, upon the pleadings and transcript of the record, a judgment affirming, modifying, or reversing the decision of the [Commissioner], with or without remanding the case for a rehearing." It also 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).
The law provides that a child will be considered disabled if he has a "medically determinable physical or mental impairment, which results in marked and severe functional limitations.". 42 U.S.C. §1382c(a)(3)(C)(1). A physical or mental impairment is "an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. §423(d)(3). It is well established that the burden of proving entitlement to disability insurance benefits is on the plaintiff. See Jeralds v. Richardson , 445 F.2d 36 (7th Cir. 1971); Kutchman v. Cohen , 425 F.2d 20 (7th Cir. 1970).
Given the foregoing framework, "[t]he question before [this court] is whether the record as a whole contains substantial evidence to support the [Commissioner's] findings." Garfield v. Schweiker , 732 F.2d 605, 607 (7th Cir. 1984) citing Whitney v. Schweiker , 695 F.2d 784, 786 (7th Cir. 1982); 42 U.S.C. §405(g). "Substantial evidence is defined as more than a mere scintilla. It means such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.'" Rhoderick v. Heckler , 737 F.2d 714, 715 (7th Cir. 1984) quoting Richardson v. Perales , 402 U.S. 389, 401, 91 S.Ct. 1410, 1427 (1971); see Allen v. Weinberger , 552 F.2d 781, 784 (7th Cir. 1977). "If the record contains such support [it] must [be] affirmed, 42 U.S.C. §405(g), unless there has been an error of law." Garfield, supra at 607; see also Schnoll v. Harris , 636 F.2d 1146, 1150 (7th Cir. 1980).
In the present matter, after consideration of the entire record, the Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") made the following findings:
1. The claimant was born on August 30, 2005. Therefore, he was a preschooler on October 15, 2009, the date the application was filed, and is currently a preschooler (20 CFR 416.926(g)(2)).
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since October 15, 2009, the application date (20 CFR 416.924(b) and 416.971 et seq. ).
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments: Asthma; Sinusitis and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (20 CFR 416.924(c)).
4. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 416.924, 416.925 and 416.926).
5. The claimant does not have an impairment or combination of impairments that functionally equals the severity of the listings (20 CFR 416.924(d) and 416.926(a)).
6. The claimant has not been disabled, as defined in the Social Security Act, since October 15, 2009, the date the application was filed (20 CFR 416.924(a)).
The regulations prescribe a three-step sequential evaluation process to determine whether a child's impairments result in marked and severe functional limitations:
Step one: If a child is engaged in substantial gainful activity, he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(b).
Step two: If a child's impairment(s) are not severe, i.e., causes no more than minimal functional limitations, he is not ...