United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana
QUIANA K. MARSHALL, ON BEHALF OF HER MINOR CHILD, K.P.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
C. WILKINSON, JR. UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
K. Marshall, proceeding pro se on behalf of her minor child,
K.P., seeks judicial review pursuant to Section 405(g) of the
Social Security Act (the “Act”) of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (the “Commissioner”), denying
plaintiff's claim for childhood Supplemental Security
Income ("SSI") benefits under Title XVI of the Act.
42 U.S.C. §§ 402 et seq. This matter was referred
to a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(b) and Local Rule 73.2E(B).
was three years and five months old on November 20, 2014 when
his mother applied for SSI on his behalf, alleging a
disability onset date of June 22, 2011, due to asthma, speech
and attention problems. (Tr. 30, 122, 187, 203, 204, 208).
However, “[c]laimants applying to the SSI program may
not receive payments for a period predating the month in
which they apply for benefits.” Rosetti v.
Shalala, 12 F.3d 1216, 1224 n.20 (3d Cir. 1993) (citing
20 C.F.R. § 416.335); accord Brown v. Apfel,
192 F.3d 492, 495 n.1 (5th Cir. 1999); Wilson v.
Colvin, No. 4:15-CV-711, 2017 WL 121056, at *1 n.2 (S.D.
Tex. Jan. 11, 2017) (citing 20 C.F.R. § 416.335;
Brown, 192 F.3d at 495 n.1). “Thus, the month
following an application . . . fixes the earliest date from
which benefits can be paid.” Hector v.
Barnhart, 337 F.Supp.2d 905, 910 (S.D. Tex. 2004)
(citing 20 C.F.R. § 416.335; Brown, 192 F.3d at
495 n.1). Marshall must show that K.P. was disabled as of
November 20, 2014, when she filed for benefits on his behalf,
through May 18, 2017, the date of the Administrative Law
Judge's ("ALJ") decision.
her application was denied on September 11, 2015, plaintiff
filed a timely request for a hearing, which was conducted
before an ALJ on January 25, 2017. (Tr. 114-126, 151, 155).
The ALJ issued a decision on May 18, 2017, finding that K.P.
was not disabled. (Tr. 29-43). After the Appeals Council
denied plaintiff's request for review on May 31, 2018
(Tr. 1-3), the decision of the ALJ became the final decision
of the Commissioner for purposes of this court's review.
filed a pro se memorandum of facts and law, Record Doc. No.
16, which she supplemented after being granted leave of court
to do so. Record Doc. Nos. 20, 21, 22. The Commissioner filed
a reply memorandum of facts and law. Record Doc. No. 19.
STATEMENT OF ISSUES ON APPEAL
her pleading broadly, plaintiff contends that the ALJ made
the following errors:
A. Substantial evidence does not support the ALJ's
finding that K.P.'s impairments do not meet or medically
equal the listings.
B. Substantial evidence does not support the ALJ's
finding that K.P.'s impairments do not functionally equal
the severity of the listings.
ALJ'S FINDINGS RELEVANT TO ISSUES ON APPEAL The
ALJ made the following relevant findings:
A. K.P. was a preschool child on his application date and a
preschool child on the date of the ALJ's decision.
B. He has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since
November 20, 2014, the application date.
C. He has the following severe impairments: attention-deficit
hyperactivity disorder; speech delay; and asthma.
D. K.P. does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in the Listings.
E. K.P. does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that functionally equals the severity of the
F. He has not been disabled from November 20, 2014, the date
his application was filed, through the date of the ALJ's
Standards of Review
function of this court on judicial review is limited to
determining whether there is substantial evidence in the
record to support the final decision of the Commissioner as
trier of fact and whether the Commissioner applied the
appropriate legal standards in evaluating the evidence.
Waters v. Barnhart, 276 F.3d 716, 716 (5th Cir.
2002); Loza v. Apfel, 219 F.3d 378, 389 (5th Cir.
2000); Spellman v. Shalala, 1 F.3d 357, 360 (5th
Cir. 1993). Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla but
less than a preponderance and is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Loza, 219 F.3d at 393; Spellman, 1
F.3d at 360. This court may not “reweigh the evidence
in the record, try the issues de novo or substitute
its judgment for the Commissioner's, even if the evidence
weighs against the Commissioner's decision.”
Newton v. Apfel, 209 F.3d 448, 452 (5th Cir. 2000).
The Commissioner, rather than the courts, must resolve
conflicts in the evidence. Id.
is entitled to make any finding that is supported by
substantial evidence, regardless whether other conclusions
are also permissible. See Arkansas v. Oklahoma, 503
U.S. 91 (1992). Despite this court's limited function, it
must scrutinize the record in its entirety to determine the
reasonableness of the decision reached and whether
substantial evidence supports it. Harper v.
Barnhart, 176 Fed.Appx. 562, 565 (5th Cir. 2006);
Villa v. Sullivan, 895 F.2d 1019, 1022 (5th Cir.
1990); Johnson v. Bowen, 864 F.2d 340, 343-44 (5th
Cir. 1988). Any findings of fact by the Commissioner that are
supported by substantial evidence are conclusive.
Newton, 209 F.3d at 452; Martinez v.
Chater, 64 F.3d 172, 173 (5th Cir. 1995).
qualify for SSI, a claimant must be “disabled” as
defined by the Act. 42 U.S.C. § 423(a)(1)(D). In 1996,
Congress passed the Personal Responsibility and Work
Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (“1996
Act”), which redefined the eligibility standard for
children under the SSI disability determination process. This
statute applies to all child disability applicants who filed
claims on or after August 22, 1996, or whose cases were not
finally adjudicated before that date. Id. §
to the 1996 Act, “[a]n individual under the age of 18
shall be considered disabled for the purposes of this title
if that individual has a medically determinable physical or
mental impairment, which results in marked and severe
functional limitations, and which can be expected to result
in death or which has lasted or can be expected ...