United States District Court, D. South Carolina
Honorable Bruce H. Hendricks United States District Judge.
an action brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g)
seeking judicial review of the Acting Commissioner of Social
Security's (“Commissioner”) final decision,
which denied Plaintiff Martha Sue Gray's
(“Plaintiff”) claim for disability insurance
benefits (“DIB”) and supplemental security income
(“SSI”). The record includes the report and
recommendation (“Report”) of the United States
Magistrate Judge Paige J. Gossett, which was made in
accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 (b)(1)(B) and Local
Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a) (D.S.C.).
Report, the Magistrate Judge recommends that the Court affirm
the Commissioner's final decision denying benefits.
Plaintiff filed objections to the Report, and the
Commissioner filed a response to those objections.
See 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) (providing that a
party may object, in writing, to a Magistrate Judge's
Report within 14 days after being served a copy). For the
reasons stated below, the Court adopts the Magistrate
Judge's Report and affirms the Commissioner's final
decision denying benefits.
applied for DIB and SSI in April of 2012, alleging disability
beginning on June 1, 2009. Her applications were denied
initially and upon reconsideration, and she requested a
hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”). A video hearing was held on December 2,
2014, at which Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel,
appeared and testified. At the hearing, Plaintiff amended her
alleged onset date to October 31, 2011. After considering the
testimony of a vocational expert (“VE”), the ALJ
issued a decision on February 13, 2015, concluding that
Plaintiff was not disabled from October 31, 2011, through the
date of the decision.
was born in 1974 and was 37 years old at the time of her
amended alleged onset date. She has a high school education
and past relevant work experience as a cashier, a furniture
inspector, an automotive machine operator, a production
associate, and a retail stock associate. Plaintiff alleged
disabilities due to migraines, degenerative disc disease,
depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The Magistrate Judge's Report
Court conducts a de novo review to those portions of the
Report to which a specific objection is made, and this Court
may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the
recommendations contained in the Report. 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1). Any written objection must specifically identify
the portion of the Report to which the objection is made and
the basis for the objection. Id.
Judicial Review of a Final Decision
federal judiciary plays a limited role in the administrative
scheme as established by the Social Security Act. Section
205(g) of the Act provides that “[t]he findings of the
Commissioner of Social Security, as to any fact, if supported
by substantial evidence, shall be conclusive . . . .”
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). “Consequently, judicial review
. . . of a final decision regarding disability benefits is
limited to determining whether the findings are supported by
substantial evidence and whether the correct law was
applied.” Walls v. Barnhart, 296 F.3d 287, 290
(4th Cir. 2002). “Substantial evidence” is
evidence which a reasoning mind would accept as sufficient to
support a particular conclusion. It consists of more than a
mere scintilla of evidence but may be somewhat less than a
preponderance. If there is evidence to justify a refusal to
direct a verdict were the case before a jury, then there is
Shively v. Heckler, 739 F.2d 987, 989 (4th Cir.
1984) (quoting Laws v. Celebreeze, 368 F.2d 640, 642
(4th Cir. 1966)). In assessing whether substantial evidence
exists, the reviewing court should not “undertake to
re-weigh conflicting evidence, make credibility
determinations, or substitute [its] judgment for that
of” the agency. ...