United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
ORDER AND REASONS
the Court are petitioner Trenise Ratcliff objections, on
behalf of her minor son (“T.W.”) to the
Magistrate Judge's Findings and Recommendation (Rec. Doc.
20). Magistrate Judge Joseph Wilkinson Jr issued Findings and
Recommendation (“Findings and Recommendations”)
upholding the denial of the petitioner's claim for
Supplemental Security Income Benefits (“SSI”)
under Title XVI, 42 U.S.C. § 402 et seq. (Rec. Docs. 16
reasons outlined below, IT IS ORDERED that the Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendation are adopted,
overruling objections to same, and this matter is
on behalf of T.W., filed for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) benefits on October 2, 2013 alleging a
disability beginning August 15, 2006. (Rec. Doc. 13-2 at 46).
Specifically, Ratcliff alleges T.W. has severe impairments of
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
(“ADHD”), Borderline Intellectual Functioning
(“BIF”) and Depressive Disorder. (Rec. Doc. 13-2
at 49). Ratcliff's claim for SSI benefits was denied on
January 10, 2014. (Rec. Doc. 13-2 at 46). The matter was
referred to an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
who conducted a hearing on August 29, 2014 and denied the
claim. (Rec. Doc. 13-2 at 59). Petitioner filed a timely
petition in this Court to review the appeals council denial
of her request of the ALJ's decision on September 23,
2013. (Rec. Doc. 13-2 at 46). As noted earlier, the matter is
now before us following objections to the Magistrate
Judge's Findings and Recommendations.
LAW JUDGE AND MAGISTRATE'S FINDINGS
Administrative Law Judge determined T.W. has “some
limitations in the ability to function, but those limitations
are not severe enough to be considered disabling.”
(Rec. Doc. 13-4 at 4). The Magistrate Judge found that
“substantial evidence supports the ALJ's findings
that T.W. has less than marked limitations in the domains of
acquiring and using information and attending and completing
tasks.” (Rec. Doc. 19 at 23).
review of any final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security is limited to: (1) whether the final decision is
supported by substantial evidence, and (2) whether the
Commissioner applied the proper legal standard when
evaluating evidence. Spellman v. Shala, 1 F.3d 357,
360 (5th Cir. 1993); see also Griego v. Sullivan,
940 F.2d 942, 943 (5th Cir. 1991); Villa v.
Sullivan, 895 F.2d 1019, 1021 (5th Cir. 1991). If
substantial evidence supports the commissioner's
findings, they are conclusive and must be affirmed. 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g); see also Spellman, 1 F.3d at 360;
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971);
Selders v. Sullivan, 914 F.2d 614, 617 (5th Cir.
1990). Substantial evidence is that which is relevant and
sufficient for a reasonable mind to accept as adequate to
support a conclusion. Spellman, 1 F.3d at 360;
see also Richardson, 402 U.S. at 401.
Court may not reweigh the evidence, try the issues de
novo or substitute its judgement for the
Commissioner's even if the evidence weighs against the
Commissioner's decision. Bowling v. Shala, 36
F.3d 431, 434 (5th Cir. 1994); see also Newton v.
Apfel, 209 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir. 2000). The
Commissioner, rather than the court, must resolve the
conflicts in the evidence. Id. Nevertheless, this
Court must scrutinize the record in its entirety to determine
the reasonableness of the decision and whether substantial
evidence exists to support it. Johnson v. Bowen, 864
F.2d 340, 343-44 (5th Cir. 1988); see also Villa v.
Sullivan, 895 F.2d 1019, 1022 (5th Cir. 1990).
requests rejection of the Findings and Recommendation and
seeks remand “to SSA for further action.” (Rec.
Doc. 20-1 at 7). Four objections are raised. First,
T.W.'s depressive disorder caused several incidents at
school, markedly diminished his interest or pleasure in
almost all activities, decreased appetite, caused psychomotor
agitation, and caused difficulty concentrating. (Rec. Doc.
13-4 at 20). Second, the screen information shows T.W. needs
improvement in the areas of listening attentively, completing
tasks in a reasonable time, working well independently, and
completing homework. (Rec. Doc. 20-1). Third, T.W.'s
difficulties in cognitive activities are well-documented
because T.W.'s teacher stated he has difficulty in
writing, social studies, and science. In addition, T.W.
exhibits a marked cognitive impairment when compared to his
same-aged peers. (Rec. Doc. 20-1). Lastly, Petitioner argues
T.W. experiences marked or extreme limitations in acquiring
and using information. Id.
1996, Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act (“The Act”) that
stated “an individual under the age of 18 shall be
considered disabled if that individual has a medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which results in
marked and severe functional limitations.” Personal