United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
M.L.R., a minor, by his mother MIKIYA S. BRANNON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.
R., Plaintiff, represented by Patrick Harold Mulvany.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Defendant, represented by Kathryn E.
Olivier, UNITED STATES ATTORNEY'S OFFICE.
ENTRY ON JUDICIAL REVIEW
WILLIAM T. LAWRENCE, District Judge.
S. Brannon (the "Plaintiff"), on behalf of her
minor child, M.L.R. (the "Claimant"), requests
judicial review of the final decision of Defendant Carolyn W.
Colvin, Acting Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration ("Commissioner"), denying the
Claimant's application for Supplemental Security Income
("SSI") benefits for a childhood disability under
the Supplemental Security Income Act ("the Act").
42 U.S.C. Â§ 1382(c)(3)(C). The Court, having reviewed the
record and the briefs of the parties, now rules as follows.
Claimant, through his mother, protectively filed a claim for
SSI benefits on October 1, 2012, alleging disability due to
attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder ("ADHD")
commencing September 1, 2012, when the Claimant was six years
old. His application was denied initially on December 7,
2012, and again upon reconsideration on February 27, 2013.
Following the denial upon reconsideration, the Plaintiff
requested and received a hearing in front of an
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ"). A video hearing
was held before ALJ William M. Manico on October 29, 2013,
during which Brannon appeared on the Claimant's behalf
and was represented by counsel. The ALJ issued his decision
on November 15, 2013, denying the Plaintiff's claim. The
Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council, and the
Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's decision on January
26, 2015. After the Appeals Council affirmed the ALJ's
decision, the Plaintiff timely filed his complaint for
judicial review in this Court.
eligible for SSI, a claimant must meet the requirements of 42
U.S.C. Â§ 423. Pursuant to that statute,
"disability" means "the inability to engage in
any substantial gainful activity by reason of a medically
determinable mental or physical impairment which can be
expected to result in death, or which has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of at least twelve
months." 42 U.S.C. Â§ 423(d)(1)(A). The standard is a
stringent one. The Act does not contemplate degrees of
disability or allow for an award based on partial disability.
See Stephens v. Heckler, 766 F.2d 284, 285
(7th Cir. 1985).
determining whether a claimant under the age of eighteen is
disabled, the Commissioner employs a three-step sequential
analysis. 20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.924(a). At step one, if the
claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity, he is
not disabled, despite his medical condition. 20 C.F.R. Â§
416.924(b). At step two, if the claimant does not have a
"severe" impairment or a combination of impairments
that is "severe, " he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. Â§
416.924(c). At step three, the Commissioner determines
whether the claimant's impairment or combination of
impairments meets, medically equals, or functionally equals
any impairment that appears in the Listing of Impairments,
codified at 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, App. 1. 20 C.F.R. Â§
416.924(d). If the claimant has an impairment or combination
of impairments that meets, medically equals, or functionally
equals the listings, and meets the twelve-month duration
requirement, the claimant is deemed disabled. 20 C.F.R. Â§
claimant has a severe impairment that does not meet or
medically equal any listing, the ALJ next examines whether
the impairment "functionally equals the listings."
20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.926a(a). In determining whether an impairment
functionally equals the listings, the ALJ must examine the
following domains: (1) acquiring and using information; (2)
attending and completing tasks; (3) interacting and relating
with others; (4) moving about and manipulating objects; (5)
caring for oneself; and (6) health and physical well-being.
20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.926a(b)(1)(i)-(vi). The claimant's
impairment or combination of impairments must result in
"marked" limitations in two or more domains or an
"extreme" limitation in one domain. 20 C.F.R. Â§
416.926a(a). A "marked" limitation is one that
"interferes seriously with [the claimant's] ability
to independently initiate, sustain, or complete
activities." 20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.926a(e)(2)(i). An
"extreme" limitation is one that "interferes
very seriously with [the claimant's] ability to
independently initiate, sustain, or complete
activities." 20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.924a(e)(3)(i).
THE ALJ'S DECISION
determined at step one that the Claimant had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since October 1, 2012, the
application date. R. at 15. At step two, the ALJ concluded
that the Claimant had the severe impairment of ADHD.
Id. At step three, the ALJ determined that the
Claimant's impairments did not meet or medically equal a
listed impairment, stating that "there is little
evidence the [C]laimant has marked difficulties with
attention, impulsiveness, or hyperactivity."
Id. The ALJ also determined that the Claimant's
impairment did not functionally equal a listing. The ALJ
examined each of the six domains and determined that the
Claimant had "less than marked limitation" in the
following three domains: acquiring and using information;
attending and completing tasks; and interacting and relating
with others. R. at 19-21. He also determined that the
Claimant had "no limitation" in the other three
domains. R. at 22-23. Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that the
Claimant was not disabled as defined by the Act.
EVIDENCE OF RECORD
ALJ's decision in combination with the Plaintiff's
brief (Dkt. No. 18) aptly set forth the medical evidence of
record, which need not be recited here. Specific facts are