Forrest v. Commissioner of Social Security
OPINION; Judgment to issue; signed by Judge Janet T. Neff (Judge Janet T. Neff, clb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN
RONALD FORREST, JR.,
Case No. 1:16-cv-633
HON. JANET T. NEFF
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL
This is a social security action brought under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) seeking judicial
review of a final decision by the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner). Plaintiff seeks review of the Commissioner’s decision denying his claim for
disability insurance benefits (DIB) under Title II of the Social Security Act. Section 405(g) limits
the Court to a review of the administrative record, and provides that if the Commissioner’s decision
is supported by substantial evidence, it shall be conclusive.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The scope of judicial review in a social security case is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the proper legal standards in making her decision and whether
there exists in the record substantial evidence supporting that decision. See Brainard v. Sec’y of
Health & Human Servs., 889 F.2d 679, 681 (6th Cir. 1989). The Court may not conduct a de novo
review of the case, resolve evidentiary conflicts, or decide questions of credibility. See Garner v.
Heckler, 745 F.2d 383, 387 (6th Cir. 1984). It is the Commissioner who is charged with finding the
facts relevant to an application for disability benefits, and her findings are conclusive provided they
are supported by substantial evidence. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance. See
Cohen v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 964 F.2d 524, 528 (6th Cir. 1992) (citations omitted).
It is such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.
See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Bogle v. Sullivan, 998 F.2d 342, 347 (6th Cir.
1993). In determining the substantiality of the evidence, the Court must consider the evidence on
the record as a whole and take into account whatever in the record fairly detracts from its weight.
See Richardson v. Sec’y of Health & Human Servs., 735 F.2d 962, 963 (6th Cir. 1984). The
substantial evidence standard presupposes the existence of a zone within which the decision maker
can properly rule either way, without judicial interference. See Mullen v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 535, 545
(6th Cir. 1986) (citation omitted). This standard affords to the administrative decision maker
considerable latitude, and indicates that a decision supported by substantial evidence will not be
reversed simply because the evidence would have supported a contrary decision. See Bogle, 998
F.2d at 347; Mullen, 800 F.2d at 545.
Plaintiff was forty-three years of age on the date of the Administrative Law Judge’s
(ALJ) decision. (PageID.44, 114.) He has completed high school and was previously employed as
a welder. (PageID.213–214.) Plaintiff applied for benefits on May 3, 2013, alleging disability
beginning March 1, 2012, due to social phobia, spinal stenosis, severe depression, arthritis, and a
hernia. (PageID.114–115, 198–204.) Plaintiff’s application was denied on September 10, 2013,
after which time he requested a hearing before an ALJ. (PageID.132–135, 142–143.) On September
24, 2014, Plaintiff appeared with his counsel before ALJ Paul W. Jones for an administrative hearing
with testimony being offered by Plaintiff and a vocational expert (VE). (PageID.60–105.) In a
written decision dated October 20, 2014, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was not disabled.
(PageID.44–59.) On March 29, 2016, the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ’s decision,
making it the Commissioner’s final decision in the matter. (PageID.38–41.) This action followed.
The social security regulations articulate a five-step sequential process for evaluating
disability. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a-f).1 If the Commissioner can make a dispositive finding at
any point in the review, no further finding is required. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). The regulations
also provide that if a claimant suffers from a nonexertional impairment as well as an exertional
impairment, both are considered in determining the claimant’s residual functional capacity (RFC).
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545.
Plaintiff has the burden of proving the existence and severity of limitations caused
by his impairments and that he is precluded from performing past relevant work through step four.
An individual who is working and engaging in substantial gainful activity will not be found to be
“disabled” regardless of medical findings (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(b));
An individual who does not have a “severe impairment” will not be found “disabled” (20 C.F.R.
If an individual is not working and is suffering from a severe impairment which meets the duration
requirement and which “meets or equals” a listed impairment in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of
Regulations No. 4, a finding of “disabled” will be made without consideration of vocational factors
(20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(d));
If an individual is capable of performing work he or she has done in the past, a finding of “not
disabled” must be made (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e));
If an individual’s impairment is so severe as to preclude the performance of past work, other factors
including age, education, past work experience, and residual functional capacity must be considered
to determine if other work can be performed. (20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(f)).
Jones v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 336 F.3d 469, 474 (6th Cir. 2003). At step five, it is the
Commissioner’s burden “to identify a significant number of jobs in the economy that accommodate
the claimant’s residual functional capacity (determined at step four) and vocational profile.” Id.
ALJ Jones determined that Plaintiff’s claim failed at the fifth step of the evaluation.
At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his
alleged disability onset date. (PageID.49.) At step two, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had the severe
impairments of: (1) spinal degenerative disc disease; (2) dysfunction of the major joint, left knee;
(3) affective disorder; (4) anxiety; and (5) substance abuse (ethanol and marijuana). (PageID.49.)
At the third step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or equaled the requirements of the Listing of Impairments. (PageID.49–51.)
At the fourth step, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC based on all the impairments:
to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b), except he
can only stand/walk for about two hours and sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday, with normal breaks; requires a sit/stand option,
at will, provided he is not off task more than 10% of the work period;
occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl; in
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks; with occasional changes in the
work setting; and occasional interaction with the public, coworkers
(PageID.51.) Continuing with the fourth step, the ALJ found that Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of his past relevant work. (PageID.54.) At the fifth step, the ALJ questioned the VE to
determine whether a significant number of jobs exist in the economy that Plaintiff could perform
given his limitations. See Richardson, 735 F.2d at 964. The VE testified that Plaintiff could
perform other work as an assembler (200,000 national jobs), inspector (75,000 national jobs), and
packer (150,000 national jobs). (PageID.87–89.) Based on this record, the ALJ found that Plaintiff
was capable of making a successful adjustment to work that exists in significant numbers in the
national economy. (PageID.55.)
Accordingly, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff was not disabled from March 1, 2012,
the alleged disability onset date, through October 20, 2014, the date of decision. (PageID.55–56.)
The ALJ’s Evaluation of Ms. Nicole Degraff’s Opinion.
In support of his application for benefits, Plaintiff submitted a statement from Ms.
Nicole Degraff, a certified physician assistant. Ms. Degraff stated that Plaintiff had been:
under our care for severe lumbar radiculopathy, bilateral knee
instability, and severe depression with a history of alcohol abuse in
remission. It is unsafe to himself or others for him to engage in work
of any kind. He needs to have the testing and see the proper
specialists in order to better treat his medical and psychiatric
conditions however he is unable to afford this. His work restrictions
(PageID.315.). After summarizing the note’s contents, the ALJ gave the following consideration
to Ms. Degraff’s opinion.
I give little weight to the assessment of Ms. Degraff. The Social
Security rules and regulations do not recognize statements made by
a licensed or clinical physician assistant for the purposes of rendering
medical diagnoses or opinions, and the statements are considered
non-acceptable medical source statements. Assuming, arguendo, I
were to consider or recognize Ms. Degraff’s letter, her assessment is
inconsistent with her own clinical findings during claimant’s several
office visits; the office visit reports generally showed a stable and
maintain[ed] condition with no complications or issues (Exhibit 6F
and 9F). Ms Degraff apparently relied quite heavily on the subjective
report of symptoms and limitations provided by claimant, and seemed
to accept uncritically as true most, if not all, of what claimant
reported. Furthermore, the opinion expressed is conclusory,
providing very little explanation or the evidence relied on in forming
that opinion or even any specific restrictions or limitations that would
prevent claimant from performing work related activities
(PageID.53.) Plaintiff claims that the ALJ’s analysis of Ms. Degraff’s opinion was deficient. The
Plaintiff refers to Ms. Degraff as a treating physician assistant. There is no treating
physician assistant rule, however, and to the extent Plaintiff claims Ms. Degraff’s opinions should
be subject to the treating physician rule, he cannot succeed. This is so because as a physician
assistant, Ms. Degraff is not an acceptable medical source. See 20 C.F.R. 404.1513(a), (d)(1); see
also Engebrecht v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 572 F. App’x 392, 397–98 (6th Cir. 2014); Jones v. Colvin,
No. 7–14–cv–36, 2014 WL 4716517, at *4 (E.D. Ky. Sept. 22, 2014) (“The Social Security
regulations make clear that physician’s assistants are not ‘acceptable medical sources,’ but rather
‘other sources[.]’”).2 Because Ms. Degraff was not an acceptable medical source, the ALJ was not
required to provide “good reasons” for the weight given to her opinion under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1527(c)(2). See, e.g., Hughes v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 1:11–cv–66, 2015 WL 4076931,
at *8 (W.D. Mich. July 6, 2015); Gordon v. Colvin, No. 2:14–cv–213, 2015 WL 350617, at *6 (S.D.
Ohio Jan. 26, 2015) (collecting cases); Borden v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 1:13–cv–2211, 2014 WL
7335176, at *9 (N.D. Ohio Dec. 19, 2014) (“Other source” opinions are “neither entitled to
controlling weight, nor subject to the ‘good reasons’ requirement of the treating physician rule.”).
Nevertheless, SSR 06–03p instructs that the Commissioner should evaluate the
opinions expressed by other medical sources, such as Ms. Degraff:
Recently, the agency’s regulations were amended in order to, among others things, state that the agency will
now consider physician assistants as acceptable medical sources for claims brought on or after March 27, 2017. See 20
C.F.R. § 404.1502(a). The application in this case was filed well before March 27, 2017, and as such Ms. Degraff does
not qualify as an acceptable source. See id.
These regulations provide specific criteria for evaluating medical
opinions from “acceptable medical sources”; however, they do not
explicitly address how to consider relevant opinions and other
evidence from “other sources” listed in 20 CFR 404.1513(d) and
416.913(d). With the growth of managed health care in recent years
and the emphasis on containing medical costs, medical sources who
are not “acceptable medical sources,” such as nurse practitioners,
physician assistants, and licensed clinical social workers, have
increasingly assumed a greater percentage of the treatment and
evaluation functions previously handled primarily by physicians and
psychologists. Opinions from these medical sources, who are not
technically deemed “acceptable medical sources” under our rules, are
important and should be evaluated on key issues such as impairment
severity and functional effects, along with the other relevant evidence
in the file.
SSR 06–03p, 2006 WL 2329939, at *3 (S.S.A. Aug. 9, 2006). At bottom, SSR 06–03p requires only
that information from other sources be “considered.” Id. This is not a demanding standard, and it
was easily met here.
The claim Plaintiff raises is not exactly clear. It appears to involve weighing the
opinion of Ms. Degraff with the opinion of a consulting examiner, Dr. Scott Lazzara. (PageID.380.)
The gist of Plaintiff’s argument is that the ALJ needed to give more weight to Ms. Degraff’s opinion
because she had treated Plaintiff for a long period of time whereas Dr. Lazzara had only examined
Plaintiff once. “It is the Commissioner’s function to resolve conflicts in the medical evidence.”
Craft v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 39 F. App’x 274, 276 (6th Cir. 2002). Plaintiff is correct that an
examining relationship and length of treatment are factors an ALJ is to consider when weighing
medical opinions. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). However, the fact that a medical opinion is from
an ‘acceptable medical source,’ which applies to Dr. Lazzara and does not apply to Ms. Degraff, is
a factor that may justify giving Dr. Lazzara’s opinion greater weight. SSR 06–03p at *5.
Consistency is another important factor: “Generally, the more consistent an opinion is with the
record as a whole, the more weight we will give to that opinion.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(4). The
ALJ noted Ms. Degraff’s opinions were not well supported and furthermore were inconsistent with
her own treatment notes. Only in his reply does Plaintiff argue that substantial evidence fails to
support the ALJ’s discussion. (PageID.406–408.) While Plaintiff has cherry-picked records he
claims support his position, he ignores those records that support the ALJ’s. For example, on
August 2, 2013, it was noted that his pain was at a level of 7-8, but his activities of daily living,
including physical, social, and work, were normal. (PageID.307.) While his lumbar spine had a
decreased range of motion, the spine itself was normal. Plaintiff’s lumbar spine also had normal
stability, muscle strength, and tone. (PageID.310.) Plaintiff again had normal activities of daily
living on July 23, 2014 and September 17, 2014. (PageID.312, 326.) Plaintiff also reported he was
able to control his emotions and pain (PageID.313.)
In sum, as a non-acceptable source, the ALJ was not required to provide “good
reasons” when he decided not to adopt Ms. Degraff’s opinions. Nonetheless, the ALJ articulated
several considerations for declining to do so. This discussion easily passes muster under SSR
06–03p, and Plaintiff has not demonstrated otherwise. Furthermore, the ALJ did not violate agency
regulations in giving greater weight to Dr. Lazarra’s opinion despite the fact that Ms. Degraff had
a longer examination history with Plaintiff. This claim of error should be denied.
Plaintiff’s RFC is Supported By Substantial Evidence.
Plaintiff’s second claim of error is unclear. Plaintiff claims that the ALJ’s decision
fails “to make sense of the record through even-handed rational balancing of the relevant medical
record and physician opinions.” (PageID.381.) But there are no citations to the administrative
record, and there is only a single reference to legal authority. That authority, DeLong v. Comm’r
of Soc. Sec., No. 1:10-CV-1056, 2013 WL 1309003, at *8 (W.D. Mich. Mar. 28, 2013), reverses the
decision of the Commissioner for violating the treating physician rule; however, there is no treating
physician opinion in this case. The Court is able to glean references to the opinion of Dr. Scott
Lazzara, the consulting examiner, as well as unspecified opinions from emergency room physicians.
Plaintiff also references statements made by the vocational expert at the administrative hearing. It
appears Plaintiff claims the ALJ erred by failing to properly balance these opinions. For reasons
stated below, the Court disagrees.
Because Dr. Lazzara was not a treating physician, the ALJ was not “under any special
obligation to defer to [his] opinion or to explain why he elected not to defer to it.” Karger v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 414 F. App’x 739, 744 (6th Cir. 2011); see Peterson v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 552 F.
App’x 533, 539–40 (6th Cir. 2014). The opinions of a consultative examiner are not entitled to any
particular weight. Peterson, 552 F. App’x at 539; Norris v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 461 F. App’x 433,
439 (6th Cir. 2012). As noted above, while the ALJ is required to give “good reasons” for the
weight assigned a treating source’s opinion, see Wilson v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 378 F.3d 541, 545
(6th Cir. 2004), this articulation requirement does not apply when an ALJ rejects the report of a
non-treating medical source, see Smith v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 482 F.3d 873, 876 (6th Cir. 2007).
However, “the ALJ’s decision still must say enough to allow the appellate court to trace the path of
his reasoning.” Stacey v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 451 F. App’x 517, 519 (6th Cir. 2011) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
The ALJ stated his RFC assessment accommodated Plaintiff’s limitations as found
by Dr. Lazzara. This assertion is supported by substantial evidence. Dr. Lazarra’s report indicated
that Plaintiff was able to sit, stand, bend, and stoop. (PageID.305.) While Plaintiff had a wide-based
and lurching gait, Plaintiff was able to walk on his heels and toes. (PageID.306.) It is true, as
Plaintiff alludes, that Dr. Lazzara indicated Plaintiff would require a brace for the left knee and an
ankle-foot orthosis for the left foot. (PageID.306). But “Plaintiff has not shown that the restrictions
. . . were more restrictive than the ALJ’s RFC finding, which limited him to light jobs allowing him
to sit or stand at will.” Opperman v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., No. 2:14-CV-13145, 2015 WL 4756670,
at *11 (E.D. Mich. July 16, 2015), report and recommendation adopted, No. 14-CV-13145, 2015
WL 4756682 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 11, 2015) (citing Shinseki v. Sanders, 556 U.S. 396, 409 (2009) for
the proposition that “the burden of showing that an error is harmful normally falls upon the party
attacking the agency’s determination.”) In other words, Plaintiff has not demonstrated that this
restriction was greater than the ALJ’s RFC finding.
Next, Plaintiff mentions opinions from emergency room physicians. The record
demonstrates that Plaintiff was treated on several occasions at the emergency room. But Plaintiff
fails to cite, either in this claim of error or in his factual summary, to any opinion from one of those
physicians that the ALJ allegedly failed to discuss. The ALJ did reference Plaintiff’s ER visits.
(PageID. 52.) To the extent Plaintiff would have had the ALJ discuss these records in greater detail,
it is plain that an ALJ is not required to discuss every piece of evidence, and his failure to do so does
not indicate that the evidence was not considered. See Daniels v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 152 F. App’x
485, 489 (6th Cir. 2005); Simons v. Barnhart, 114 F. App’x 727, 733 (6th Cir. 2004); accord Van
Der Maas v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 198 F. App’x 521, 526 (6th Cir. 2006). Accordingly, the Court
discerns no error regarding the emergency room treatment records.
Finally, Plaintiff claims the ALJ erred in relying on the VE testimony. A VE’s
testimony in response to an accurate hypothetical may provide substantial evidence at step five that
the claimant is able to perform a significant number of jobs. Felisky v. Bowen, 35 F.3d 1027, 1036
(6th Cir. 1994). Here, Plaintiff claims the ALJ did not provide an accurate hypothetical because it
did not contain terms that were recognized in the DOT. (PageID.382.) The relevant testimony
appears as follows:
I would like you to assume a person of the claimant’s age, education, and
work experience who is able to do limited light work and by that I further
define as lifting up to 20 pounds occasionally, lifting and carrying up to 10
pounds frequently. But standing and walking for aobut two hours and sitting
for up to six hours in an eight hour work day with normal breaks. And then
also, all occasional posturals. Specifically climbing, balancing, stooping,
kneeling, crouching, and crawling. And mental limitations as follows.
Simple routine repetitive tasks, occasional changes in the work setting and
occasional public coworker and supervision interaction and no other
limitations. Could such a person perform any of the past work that we have
Can I clarify? You said stand and walk for six, sit for two?
Stand and walk for two, six for six.
Okay. That’s what I wanted to clarify.
Otherwise it would be just light.
Okay. Yeah, I – for the record that the stand and walking, that’s not in the
DOT. Basically what can give you is sit stand options. They can sit the
entire day, stand the entire day, or go back and forth between the two. So no
Okay. So what you are telling me involves a sit stand option.
And no – and you are staying such a person could not perform any of the past
Not past work.
Because as we discussed, it’s all at –
– at least light or better. What? Medium. Okay. Houw about other jobs in the
Yes. These would be light unskilled with an SVP of 2 unless I indicated
otherwise and the numbers will be reduced because of the sit /stand option.
(PageID.89.) The VE proceeded to provide the jobs of assembler, inspector, and packer, with
425,000 total jobs existing in the national economy. (PageID.89.) An ALJ is not required to rely
on the DOT. See Martin v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 170 F. App’x 369, 374 (6th Cir. 2006). Here, the
VE stated that in order to provide a response to the hypothetical, a specification for a sit/stand option
needed to be included. This specification was adopted in the RFC. (PageID.51.) While it is true that
the ALJ also included a limitation that Plaintiff would be expected to stand or walk for two hours
and sit for six hours, Plaintiff has not demonstrated how this fact renders the VE’s testimony
unreliable, nor that he is incapable of performing this activity. Accordingly, the Court finds no error
The ALJ’s Evaluation of Dr. Shahida Mohiuddin’s Opinion.
On August 8, 2013, Dr. Mohiuddin, an agency consultant, provided her opinion
regarding Plaintiff’s physical abilities. Among other things, she indicated that Plaintiff was capable
of occasionally lifting and carrying twenty pound weights and frequently lifting and carrying ten
pound weights. Plaintiff could stand and/or walk for four hours of a workday and sit for about six
hours in the workday. (PageID.122.) At the conclusion of the opinion, the doctor provided an
explanation for her opinion by making brief references to various records. (PageID.123.) She
concluded this explanation by stating that “IF A DENIAL WILL CHECK IF CLAIMANT HAS
SEEN ANY ORTHO SURGEON FOR POSSIBLE =S TO 1.04C MORE SEVERE FINDINGS
NOTED AT IM CE W/ LIMPING GAIT, LLE WEAKNESS = 4/5, & L FOOT DROP, BUT NOT
NOTED BY PCP. (PageID.123.) After this explanation, Dr. Mohiuddin included an electronic
signature. (PageID.123.) Plaintiff claims the ALJ erred by characterizing this opinion as one from
Dr. Mohiuddin, rather than one from a single decision maker (SDM). He further alleges error
because the ALJ failed to order an expert opinion regarding whether Plaintiff met or equaled a
listing. (PageID.382.) The Court discerns no error here.
“Social Security regulations recognize that opinions from non-examining state
agency consultants may be entitled to significant weight, because these individuals are ‘highly
qualified’ and are ‘experts in Social Security disability evaluation.’” Cobb v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
No. 1:12–cv–2219, 2013 WL 5467172, at *5 (N.D. Ohio Sept. 30, 2013) (quoting 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1527(e)(2)(i), 416.927(e)(2)(i)); see also Barker v. Shalala, 40 F.3d 789, 794 (6th Cir. 1994).
Plaintiff, however, disputes that the above described opinion is actually from Dr. Mohiuddin.
Rather, Plaintiff appears to claim that the opinion is from a SDM. Plaintiff points out that neither
Ms. Degraff nor Dr. Lazzara had indicated Plaintiff would be able to stand or walk for four hours.
(PageID.382.) Based on this fact, Plaintiff asserts that this limitation must have been given by a
SDM. (PageID.382.) This is an unreasonable assertion that enjoys no support in the record.
Instead, the more reasonable reading of the record is that Dr. Mohiuddin reviewed the available
medical evidence and arrived at an independent opinion of Plaintiff’s functional abilities. This, the
doctor was certainly qualified to do.
Finally, Plaintiff claims that the ALJ erred by “failing to heed the explicit call by Dr.
Mohiuddin to acquire a proper orthopedic opinion to properly assess listing 1.04(a) before issuing
a denial.” (PageID.382.) There was no explicit call. At most, Plaintiff can point to the suggestion
contained in Dr. Mohiuddin’s RFC explanation to check, if Plaintiff’s application was denied,
whether there had been further developments in the record that would support a step three finding.
But there was no call here that an ALJ obtain expert testimony. Even assuming the doctor had
issued such a directive, Plaintiff points to no authority demonstrating that the ALJ was required to
heed this call, or that it would be reversible error to fail to do so. Indeed, the regulations at 20
C.F.R. § 404.1527(e) plainly do not require that an ALJ consult with a medical expert before making
his finding that a claimant did not meet or equal the requirements of a listed impairment. See Garza
v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., No. 1:14-CV-1150, 2015 WL 8922011, at *8 (W.D. Mich. Nov. 25, 2015)
(collecting cases), report and recommendation adopted, No. 1:14-CV-1150, 2015 WL 8958469
(W.D. Mich. Dec. 15, 2015).
Accordingly, this claim of error should be denied.
For the reasons articulated herein, the Court concludes that the ALJ’s decision is
supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the Commissioner’s decision is AFFIRMED.
A separate judgment shall issue.
Dated: May 10, 2017
/s/ Janet T. Neff
JANET T. NEFF
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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