Wilson v. Social Security Administration, Commissioner
MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by Judge Abdul K Kallon on 01/06/2021. (AKD)
2021 Jan-06 AM 08:17
U.S. DISTRICT COURT
N.D. OF ALABAMA
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
TONY BRUCE WILSON,
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of
Civil Action Number
Tony Bruce Wilson brings this action pursuant to Section 205(g) of the Social
Security Act (“the Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking review of the final adverse
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“SSA”).
Among other things, Wilson contends that the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
failed to properly consider his subjective testimony, ignored parts of the record in
reaching her conclusion that Wilson could perform a range of light work, and did
not properly weigh opinions of a treating and examining physician. After careful
review, this court finds that the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and that
substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision. Therefore, the decision denying
benefits is due to be affirmed.
Wilson worked as a store clerk, door man, assistant manager, waiter, and in a
production plant before he stopped working at age 49 due to his alleged disability.
See R. 249, 252, 262-63. Thereafter, Wilson filed applications for a period of
disability and disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income,
alleging a disability onset date of June 14, 2010, which he later amended to February
8, 2017, 1 due to impairments from severe depression, anxiety, chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, HEP, back problems, potentially
malignant node in the neck, severe pain in legs when walking, and dizziness. R. 44,
70, 115, 221-22, 228-36, 244. The SSA denied Wilson’s applications, R. 68, 82,
104, 110, and Wilson requested a hearing before an ALJ, R. 118. Following the
hearing, the ALJ issued a decision denying Wilson’s claim. R. 10-33. Subsequently,
the Appeals Council (“AC”) denied Wilson’s request for review, rendering the
ALJ’s opinion the final decision of the Commissioner. R. 1, 218; see 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Wilson now seeks review in this court. Doc. 1.
In addressing the Wilson’s appeal, the issues before this court are whether the
record contains substantial evidence to sustain the ALJ’s decision, see 42 U.S.C.
By amending his alleged onset date, Wilson dismissed his claim for a period of disability
insurance benefits because the amended onset date is after his date last insured. See R. 13, 44, 69,
§ 405(g); Lewis v. Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1439 (11th Cir. 1997), and whether the
ALJ applied the correct legal standards, see Stone v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 544 Fed.
Appx. 839, 841 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Crawford v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d
1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004)). 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c) mandate that the
Commissioner’s “factual findings are conclusive if supported by ‘substantial
evidence.’” Martin v. Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990). Substantial
evidence falls somewhere between a scintilla and a preponderance of evidence; “[i]t
is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support
a conclusion.” Id. (quoting Bloodsworth, v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir.
1983)) (other citations omitted).
The district court may not reconsider the facts, reevaluate the evidence, or
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner; instead, it must review the final
decision as a whole and determine if the decision is “reasonable and supported by
substantial evidence.” See id. (citing Bloodsworth, 703 F.2d at 239). “Indeed, ‘even
if the evidence preponderates against the Commissioner’s findings, [the court] must
affirm if the decision reached is supported by substantial evidence.’” Henry v.
Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 802 F.3d 1264, 1267 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Crawford, 363
F.3d at 1158-59). While the court acknowledges that judicial review of the ALJ’s
findings is limited in scope, the court’s review “does not yield automatic
affirmance.” Lamb v. Bowen, 847 F.2d 698, 701 (11th Cir. 1988).
An individual applying for disability benefits bears the burden of proving that
he is disabled. Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir. 2005). To
qualify, a claimant must show “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment
which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to
last for a continuous period of not less than twelve months.”
§§ 423(d)(1)(A), 416(i)(1)(A). Further, the impairments must be so severe that the
claimant “cannot, considering [ . . . ] age, education, and work experience, engage
in any other kind of substantial gainful work which exists in the national economy.”
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A). A physical or mental impairment is “an impairment that
results from anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrated by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(3).
Determination of disability under the Act requires a five-step analysis. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)–(f). Specifically, the Commissioner must determine, in
(1) whether the claimant is currently unemployed;
(2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment;
(3) whether the impairment meets or equals one listed by the SSA;
(4) whether the claimant is unable to perform his or her past work; and
(5) whether the claimant is unable to perform any work in the national
Jones v. Apfel, 190 F.3d 1224, 1228 (11th Cir. 1999). “An affirmative answer to
any of the above questions leads either to the next question, or, on steps three and
five, to a finding of disability. A negative answer to any question, other than step
three, leads to a determination of ‘not disabled.’” McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d
1026, 1030 (11th Cir. 1986) (citing 20 C.F.R. §§ 416.920(a)–(f)). “Once the finding
is made that a claimant cannot return to prior work the burden of proof shifts to the
[Commissioner] to show other work the claimant can do.” Foote v. Chater, 67 F.3d
1553, 1559 (11th Cir. 1995) (citation omitted).
Here, the ALJ performed the five-step analysis and determined that Wilson
satisfies Step One because he had not engaged in any substantial gainful activity
since February 8, 2017, the amended alleged onset date. R. 15. At Step Two, the
ALJ found that Wilson has the severe impairment of COPD, diabetes mellitus,
obesity, anxiety, and major depressive disorder. R. 15. The ALJ then proceeded to
Step Three, finding that Wilson did “not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1[.]” R. 17.
The ALJ then concluded that Wilson has the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b), with the following
[Wilson] cannot climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. [Wilson] can climb
ramps or stairs occasionally[,] [and he] can balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl frequently. [Wilson] must avoid concentrated
exposure to temperature extremes and pulmonary irritants[,] [and]
avoid all exposure to unprotected heights and moving machinery.
[Wilson] would need to be able to alternate sitting and standing/walking
every 15 minutes during the workday. [Wilson] can understand,
remember, and carry out one-to-three step tasks[,] [and] maintain
concentration, persistence, and pace for one-to-three step tasks in twohour intervals with customary breaks spread throughout the day.
[Wilson] can interact occasionally with the public and appropriately
with coworkers and supervisions[,] [and he] can adapt to occasional
R. 19. Based on this RFC, and relying on the testimony of a vocational expert
(“VE”), the ALJ determined at Step Four that Wilson could not perform any of his
relevant past work. R. 26. The ALJ then proceeded to Step Five, where based on
Wilson’s age, education, work experience, RFC, and the VE’s testimony, the ALJ
determined that “there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national
economy that [Wilson] can perform,” including small products assembler and
routing clerk. R. 27. Accordingly, the ALJ found that Wilson “has not been under
a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act,” from the amended alleged
disability onset date through the date of her decision. R. 28.
Wilson contends that substantial evidence does not support the ALJ’s decision
and the ALJ did not apply the correct legal standards in reaching her decision. Doc.
9. Allegedly, the ALJ failed to properly evaluate Wilson’s subjective testimony,
ignored parts of the record in reaching her finding that Wilson can perform a range
of light work, and failed to articulate good cause for discounting the opinions of Dr.
James Jeffrey, a treating psychiatrist, and Dr. Erin Smith, a one-time examining
Wilson contends that severe pain from neuropathy and symptoms from his
COPD prevent him from working and that the ALJ did not properly consider his
subjective testimony regarding the pain he suffers and the limiting effects of COPD.
Doc. 9 at 5. When, as here, a claimant alleges disability due to pain and other
subjective symptoms, he must present “(1) evidence of an underlying medical
condition and either (2) objective medical evidence that confirms the severity of the
alleged pain arising from that condition or (3) that the objectively determined
medical condition is of such a severity that it can be reasonably expected to give rise
to the alleged pain.” Holt v. Sullivan, 921 F.2d 1221, 1223 (11th Cir. 1991) (citation
omitted). Thus, a claimant’s “subjective testimony supported by medical evidence
that satisfies the standard is itself sufficient to support a finding of disability.” Id.
However, an ALJ may discredit a claimant’s subjective
testimony of disabling pain and other symptoms if the ALJ clearly articulates her
reason for doing so and substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s finding. Dyer v.
Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005); Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d 1219,
1225 (11th Cir. 2002). “[I]t is not sufficient for [an ALJ] to make a single conclusory
statement that ‘the individual’s statements about his or her symptoms have been
considered’ or that ‘the statements about the individual’s symptoms are (or are not)
supported or consistent.’” SSR 16-3p, 2017 WL 5180304, at *10 (Oct. 25, 2017).
Wilson testified that he runs out of air, cannot breathe, and gets exhausted due
to his COPD and emphysema, and he must use his rescue inhaler two to four times
each day. R. 51-52. In addition to his pulmonary issues, Wilson testified that due
to the worsening neuropathy in his legs and hands, it is “hard to do anything.” R.
52. The neuropathy causes pain and tingling in his hands and feet, stiffness in his
hands and legs, and a cold feeling in his feet. R. 53. According to Wilson, the pain
is a seven or eight on a ten-point scale, and the medication he takes for the
neuropathy pain makes him extremely sleepy. R. 53. Wilson added that he can only
walk a block or perform housework for five to ten minutes before he has to stop and
rest; it takes him at least two to three hours to shop for groceries because if he exerts
himself too much, he feels like he does not get enough air and starts “panicking for
air;” he cannot do any yard work; and he can barely lift five pounds. R. 54, 57-59.
The ALJ considered Wilson’s testimony and, applying the correct standard,
found that Wilson’s “medically determinable impairments could reasonably be
expected to cause the alleged symptoms; however, [Wilson’s] statements concerning
the intensity, persistence and limiting effects of these symptoms are not entirely
consistent with the medical evidence and other evidence in the record . . . .” R. at
19-20. In particular, the ALJ found that Wilson’s subjective testimony is only
partially consistent with the objective medical evidence and that the evidence “does
not show symptoms or limitations at the severity alleged by [Wilson] . . . .” R. 20.
Contrary to Wilson’s contention otherwise, doc. 9 at 5, the ALJ articulated the reason
for discrediting Wilson’s testimony in her five-page discussion of his medical
records, and substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s finding.
A review of the record shows that, on March 1, 2018, Wilson reported
worsening neuropathy in his hands and feet to Dr. Joyce Goetsch, his primary care
physician at Athens Family Health Center (“AFHC”), and Dr. Goetsch diagnosed
Wilson with diabetic neuropathy, noting that Wilson “has had neuropathy in his
hands and feet for some time.” R. 454-55, 459. Based in part on Dr. Goetsch’s
diagnosis, Wilson faults the ALJ for not finding his neuropathy to be a severe
impairment at Step Two. Doc. 9 at 6-7. But, even if the ALJ should have considered
Wilson’s neuropathy a severe impairment, any such error is harmless because the
ALJ found Wilson suffered from several other severe impairments and, therefore,
continued her analysis beyond Step Two. See Perry v. Astrue, 280 F. App’x 887,
893-94 (11th Cir. 2008). And, more importantly, the ALJ considered and discussed
records related to Wilson’s neuropathy in reaching her findings that Wilson’s
subjective testimony was not consistent with the record as a whole and that Wilson
could perform a range of light work. See R. 20-22.
As the ALJ noted, on March 5, 2018, after diagnosing Wilson with diabetic
neuropathy, Dr. Goetsch prescribed a four-wheeled walker with a seat and brakes
for Wilson, and she indicated that the walker was medically necessary and a lifelong need. R. 456. Records from Wilson’s subsequent visits to AFHC, however, do
not indicate that Wilson filled the prescription or ever actually used a walker. See
R. 499-501, 602-625. Rather, treatment notes indicate that Wilson ambulated
normally and had a normal gait. R. 501, 605, 609, 620.
Dr. Goetsch also prescribed gabapentin to treat Wilson’s neuropathy on
March 1, 2018, R. 453, 460, 614, and, on June 1, Wilson reported that the medication
helped with his symptoms, R. 608. Even so, treating notes from the June 1 visit to
AFHC reflect that his neuropathy was still not well controlled, and Brian Wingate,
a nurse practitioner, adjusted Wilson’s prescription for gabapentin. R. 609. Upon
exam three months later, Amy Woods, another nurse practitioner, noted that Wilson
had diminished/absent sensation in his feet and a loss of protective sensation due to
peripheral neuropathy. R. 605. Still, Ms. Woods also observed that Wilson had
normal gait and strength at that visit, R. 605, and, although Wilson reported
numbness and tingling in his legs and feet at a visit six months later, he denied any
tripping or falls, R. 615. As the ALJ noted, these medical records and others
reflecting that Wilson had normal gait and motor strength and ambulated normally
during the relevant time period are inconsistent with Wilson’s testimony regarding
the limiting effects of his neuropathy. See R. 20, 421, 429, 456, 460, 463, 469, 475,
605, 609, 620.
With respect to COPD, Wilson reported chronic shortness of breath in 2016
and also reported that he continued to smoke. R. 347, 349. Wilson was formally
diagnosed with COPD by March 2017, see R. 454, 2 and he underwent pulmonary
function testing on March 17 and April 24, 2017, R. 398, 425-26. The March 17 test
revealed that Wilson’s FEV1 3 was 56% of the predicted value, indicating a “lung
age” of 100. R. 398, 452, 476, 487. This result showed that restriction was probable,
and further examination was recommended. Id. Wilson’s April 24 test showed that
his FEV1 was 59% of the predicted value, and test notes again indicate that
restrictions are probable and recommend further examination. R. 425-26, 478-79.
But, as the ALJ noted, R. 20, both of Wilson’s pulmonary function tests caution that
A treatment note from December 2015 indicates that Wilson’s shortness of breath was
“likely COPD.” R. 352.
FEV1 stands for forced expiratory volume in one second.
the results should be “interpret[ed] with care” because Wilson performed only one
acceptable maneuver, or the maneuvers were not reproducible, R. 398, 426. In
addition, on April 25, 2017, Wilson denied respiratory problems when he sought
treatment at the Athens-Limestone Emergency Department for a nodule in his neck,
and Wilson reported that he had been sick the previous day during his second
pulmonary test. R. 490. Moreover, although Wilson frequently reported shortness
of breath during the relevant time period, R. 437, 439, 466, 472, 474, 501, 604, 608,
his medical records consistently reflect that lung examinations revealed no dyspnea,
coughing, or wheezing, good air movement, and that his lung sounds were clear, R.
437, 439, 455, 460, 463, 472, 474, 491, 501, 608. Finally, Dr. Goetsch’s and Ms.
Woods’ treating notes from December 2017 and December 2018 indicate that
Wilson’s COPD was “not limiting” in severity, R. 462, 615, and, as the ALJ noted,
Wilson had normal oxygen saturation levels on room air during his medical
appointments, R. 22, 416, 453, 457, 461, 464, 467, 471, 473, 491, 499, 502. Taken
together, these medical records provide evidence to support the ALJ’s decision that
the record as a whole is inconsistent with Wilson’s testimony regarding the limiting
effects of his COPD.
Wilson correctly notes that parts of the record support his testimony regarding
the limiting effects of his COPD and neuropathy. See doc. 9 at 7-8. But, the question
before the court is whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision, not
whether the record could support a finding in Wilson’s favor. See Moore, 405 F.3d
at 1213. Indeed, as long as substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision, the
court must affirm “‘even if the evidence preponderates against the [ALJ’s] findings
. . . .’” Henry, 802 F.3d at 1267. Thus, in light of the substantial deference owed to
the Commissioner’s decision, Dyer, 395 F.3d at 1212, and because the court cannot
reconsider the facts or reweigh the evidence, Martin, 894 F.2d at 1529, the court
finds that the ALJ did not err by finding that Wilson’s subjective testimony regarding
the limiting effects of his neuropathy and COPD was not consistent with the record.
Wilson also contends that substantial evidence does not support the ALJ’s
finding that he could perform a range of light work because the ALJ ignored parts
of his medical records in reaching her finding. Doc. 9. Allegedly, the ALJ focused
only on evidence supporting her opinion and ignored conflicting evidence, and the
ALJ failed to properly consider Wilson’s need for an assistive device. Id. at 6, 9.
An ALJ’s decision is not based on substantial evidence if the ALJ selectively relies
on only certain aspects of the record while ignoring other parts of the record. See
McCruter v. Bowen, 791 F.2d 1544, 1548 (11th Cir. 1986). Instead, the ALJ’s
“review must take into account and evaluate the record as a whole.” Id. (citations
omitted). The ALJ’s review did so in this case.
First, the ALJ’s comprehensive discussion of Wilson’s medical records and
the opinion evidence, see R. 20-25, shows that “the ALJ considered [Wilson’s]
medical condition as a whole,’” Dyer, 395 F.3d at 1211 (quoting Foote, 67 F.3d at
1561). And, although Wilson contends the ALJ should have given more deference
or attention to certain evidence in the record, he does not point to any evidence from
the relevant time period that the ALJ ignored. See doc. 9. Next, as discussed above,
substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision to discredit Wilson’s testimony
regarding the limiting effects of Wilson’s COPD and neuropathy. See, pp. 7-13,
supra. The records the ALJ relied on to reach that decision show that Wilson had
normal gait and motor strength, no dysthymia or wheezing and good lung sounds on
exam, and normal oxygen levels on room air. See id. Those records also provide
support for the ALJ’s finding that Wilson could perform a range of light work.
As to Wilson’s purported need for an assistive device, the ALJ acknowledged
that Dr. Goetsch prescribed a four-wheeled walker with seat and brakes to Wilson,
but the ALJ’s determination of Wilson’s RFC shows that she did not find the walker
to be medically required. R. 20, 455. Under Social Security Rule 96-9p, “[t]o find
that a hand-held assistive device is medically required, there must be medical
documentation establishing the need for a hand-held device to aid in walking or
standing, and describing the circumstances for which it is needed . . . .” 1996 WL
374185, at *7 (1996). Here, Wilson has not presented any evidence describing the
circumstances in which he needs a walker. In addition, and as mentioned above,
nothing in the records indicates that Wilson ever actually used a walker or required
an assistive device for walking. See p. 10, supra. Thus, the ALJ did not err by not
including Wilson’s alleged need for a walker in her determination of Wilson’s RFC.
Finally, Wilson contends that the ALJ erred in weighing the opinions of Dr.
James Jeffrey, a treating psychiatrist, and Dr. Erin Smith, a consultative
psychologist. Doc. 9 at 10-12. An ALJ “must state with particularity the weight
given to different medical opinions and the reasons therefor.” Winschel v. Comm’r
of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1179 (11th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted). The ALJ must
give “substantial or considerable weight” to the opinion of a treating physician
“unless ‘good cause’ is shown to the contrary.” 4 Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232,
1240 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Lewis, 125 F.3d at 1440). If the ALJ gives less than
substantial or considerable weight to a treating physician’s opinions, she must
clearly articulate her reasons for doing so. Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1179. Unlike the
opinion of a treating physician, an ALJ owes no special deference to the opinion of
a one-time consultative examiner. See McSwain v. Bowen, 814 F.2d 617, 619 (11th
“Good cause exists ‘when : (1) [the] treating physician’s opinion was not bolstered by
the evidence; (2) evidence supported a contrary finding; or (3) [the] treating physician’s opinion
was conclusory or inconsistent with the doctor’s own medical records.’” Winschel, 631 F.3d at
1179 (quoting Phillips, 357 F.3d at 1241).
Cir. 1987) (citation omitted); Hernandez v. Soc. Sec. Admin., Comm’r, 761 F. App’x
901, 903 (11th Cir. 2019) (citing McSwain, 814 F.2d at 619).
Dr. Jeffrey treated Wilson for moderate major depressive disorder and panic
disorder at the Mental Health Center of North Central Alabama during the relevant
time period. R. 406, 560-601. Dr. Jeffrey opined on multiple occasions in 2018 that
Wilson “would be unable to maintain any kind of employment due to excessive
absences based on his multiple medical problems and psychiatric morbidity taken
singly or combined.” R. 564, 591, 593. The ALJ considered Dr. Jeffrey’s opinions
but gave them little weight on the grounds that the opinions are vague, “involve
conclusions reserved to the Commissioner” and are inconsistent with the medical
record as a whole, including Dr. Jeffrey’s treating notes. R. 24. The court finds no
error in the ALJ’s decision to discount Dr. Jeffrey’s opinion.
As an initial matter, whether Wilson can maintain employment is an issue
reserved to the Commissioner, and an ALJ gives no special significance to opinions
on issues reserved to the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(d); Pate v.
Comm’r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 678 F. App’x 833, 835 (11th Cir. 2017). In addition, as
the ALJ noted, Dr. Jeffrey’s opinion that Wilson could not work did not include any
assessment of Wilson’s “specific functional capabilities,” R. 24, and good cause
exists to discount a treating physician’s opinion when the opinion is conclusory, see
Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1179 (quoting Phillips, 357 F.3d at 1241).
Moreover, as the ALJ noted, Dr. Jeffrey’s opinion that Wilson cannot
maintain employment is not entirely consistent with the record as a whole and Dr.
Jeffrey’s own findings from mental status examinations of Wilson. See R. 24. Dr.
Jeffrey’s notes from each examination reflect that Wilson had fair insight and
judgment, adequate attention and concentration, and no deficiencies in short or long
term memory. R. 560, 562, 564, 591, 594. In addition, Wilson reported to Dr.
Jeffrey in August 2018 that medication “helps some with his anxiety,” R. 594, and
in September 2018, Wilson reported to Ms. Woods, a nurse practitioner at AFHC,
that he had no anxiety, R. 604. Wilson’s treating records from the Mental Health
Center of North Central Alabama also reflect that although Wilson’s mood went up
and down, his therapist regularly assessed his mood as fair and his affect as
appropriate, R. 401-04, 571-90, 598, 600.
Based on these records, the ALJ
articulated good cause for discounting Dr. Jeffrey’s opinions on the grounds that
they are inconsistent with the record and Dr. Jeffrey’s own treating notes.
Dr. Smith examined Wilson in April 2017 and opined that “Wilson’s overall
level of social and adaptive functioning, based upon mental health issues along,
appears to be severely impaired” and that Wilson’s “ability to maintain gainful full17
time employment based upon cognitive or mental health issues, is severely
impaired.” R. 430-31. The ALJ considered this opinion but gave it little weight. R.
25. The court finds no error in the ALJ’s decision because an ALJ owes no special
deference to the opinion of a one-time consultative examiner, see Hernandez, 761 F.
App’x at 903 (citing McSwain, 814 F.2d at 619), and substantial evidence supports
the ALJ’s determination that Dr. Smith’s opinion is not consistent with the record or
her own examination, see R. 25.
Dr. Smith’s report of her exam reflects that Wilson’s “behavior during the
interview was appropriate,” that his “[t]hought content and processes were within
normal limits at the time of the interview,” that “[h]is insight and judgment are
good,” and that Wilson “reported that his work performance has not been adversely
affected due to his depression.” R. 429-30. Dr. Smith also noted that Wilson’s
“[c]ognition appears to be in the [a]verage range,” and, based on her exam, she found
that Wilson’s “attention and concentration were good.” R. 430. These exam notes
are inconsistent with Dr. Smith’s opinion that Wilson’s ability to maintain gainful
employment is severely impaired by cognitive and mental health issues, and they
provide substantial evidence to support the ALJ’s decision to give the opinion little
Based on the foregoing, the court concludes that substantial evidence supports
the ALJ’s determination that Wilson is not disabled and that the ALJ applied the
right legal standards in reaching her decision. Therefore, the Commissioner’s final
decision is due to be affirmed. The court will enter a separate order in accordance
with this memorandum opinion.
DONE the 6th day of January, 2021.
ABDUL K. KALLON
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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