United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
ELIZABETH T. HEY, U.S.M.J.
Herman Williams (“Plaintiff”) seeks review,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), of the
Commissioner's decision denying his claims for disability
insurance benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental
security income (“SSI”). For the reasons that
follow, I conclude that the decision of the Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) denying benefits is supported
by substantial evidence and will affirm the
was born on April 21, 1954, see tr. at 204, 208, has
completed high school, and has past work experience as an
airport utility worker, housekeeping supervisor, cleaner, and
airline security representative. Id. at 69-75, 89,
240. He filed for DIB and SSI, respectively, on May 13 and
September 5, 2014, claiming disability as of October 28,
2011, due to major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety,
and numbness in his fingers and lips. Id. at 117,
118, 204, 208, 239. The applications were denied initially,
id. at 119-23, 124-27, and Plaintiff requested an
administrative hearing before an ALJ, id. at 131-32,
which took place on March 13, 2017. Id. at 64-92. On
May 8, 2017, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was not disabled.
Id. at 41-52. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review on November 24, 2017,
id. at 1-3, making the ALJ's May 8, 2017
decision the final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1472. Plaintiff commenced this
action in federal court on January 12, 2018. Doc. 1. In
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636(c), the parties
voluntarily consented to magistrate judge jurisdiction and
the Honorable Paul S. Diamond, to whom the case was assigned,
referred the case to me for all further proceedings. Docs. 17
prove disability, a claimant must demonstrate an
“inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment . . . which has lasted or can be expected
to last for . . . not less than twelve months.” 42
U.S.C. § 423(d)(1). The Commissioner employs a five-step
1. Whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantially
2. If not, whether the claimant has a “severe
impairment” that significantly limits his physical or
mental ability to perform basic work activities;
3. If so, whether based on the medical evidence, the
impairment meets or equals the criteria of an impairment
listed in the “listing of impairments, ” 20
C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, which results in a
presumption of disability;
4. If the impairment does not meet or equal the criteria for
a listed impairment, whether, despite the severe impairment,
the claimant has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform his past work; and
5. If the claimant cannot perform his past work, then the
final step is to determine whether there is other work in the
national economy that the claimant can perform.
See Zirnsak v. Colvin, 777 F.2d 607, 610 (3d Cir.
2014); see also 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). Plaintiff bears the burden of
proof at steps one through four, while the burden shifts to
the Commissioner at the fifth step to establish that the
claimant is capable of performing other jobs in the local and
national economies, in light of his age, education, work
experience, and RFC. See Poulos v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 474 F.3d 88, 92 (3d Cir. 2007).
court's role on judicial review is to determine whether
the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Schaudeck v.
Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 181 F.3d 429, 431 (3d
Cir. 1999). Therefore, the issue in this case is whether
there is substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's conclusions that Plaintiff is not disabled
and is capable of performing jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy. Substantial evidence is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion, ” and must
be “more than a mere scintilla.”
Zirnsak, 777 F.2d at 610 (quoting Rutherford v.
Barnhart, 399 F.3d 546, 552 (3d Cir. 2005)). The court
has plenary review of legal issues. Schaudeck, 181
F.3d at 431.