Ingram v. Commissioner of Social Security Administration
ORDER adopting 19 Report and Recommendation. The Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED. Signed by Honorable Timothy M Cain on 9/25/2017.(abuc)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF SOUTH CAROLINA
Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner
of Social Security,
Civil Action No. 6:16-745-TMC
The plaintiff, Salina Ingram (“Ingram”), brought this action pursuant to the Social
Security Act (“SSA”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”),1 denying her claim for Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). In accordance with 28 U.S.C. §
636(b)(1) and Local Civil Rule 73.02(B)(2)(a), D.S.C., this matter was referred to a magistrate
judge for pretrial handling.
Before this court is the magistrate judge’s Report and
Recommendation (“Report”), recommending that the court affirm the Commissioner’s decision.
(ECF No. 19).2 In the Report, the magistrate judge sets forth the relevant facts and legal
standards, which are incorporated herein by reference. Ingram filed objections to the Report
(ECF No. 22), and the Commissioner filed a response to those objections (ECF No. 23).
Accordingly, this matter is now ripe for review.
Nancy A. Berryhill became the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration on January 23, 2017.
Pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 25(d), Berryhill should be substituted for Carolyn W. Colvin as the defendant in this
The magistrate judge's recommendation has no presumptive weight, and the responsibility for making a final
determination remains with the United States District Court. Mathews v. Weber, 423 U.S. 261, 270 (1976). The
court is charged with making a de novo determination of those portions of the Report to which specific objection is
made. The court may accept, reject, or modify, in whole or in part, the recommendation made by the magistrate
judge or recommit the matter with instructions. 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1).
Ingram applied for DIB and SSI on January 13, 2011, alleging disability beginning on
September 17, 2008. Ingram’s application was denied initially and on reconsideration. On May
23, 2012, an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) heard testimony from Ingram and a vocational
expert. On June 28, 2012, the ALJ issued a decision denying Ingram’s claim.
Ingram sought review of her case by the Appeals Council. On May 29, 2013, the
Appeals Council remanded the case for further administrative proceedings. On August 27, 2014,
the ALJ held another hearing at which Ingram and a vocational expert testified. On November 6,
2014, the ALJ issued a second decision denying Ingram’s claim. In his decision, the ALJ found
that Ingram suffered from the following severe impairments: borderline intellectual functioning,
depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (“PTSD”). (ECF No. 19 at 2). The ALJ
found that, despite Ingram’s limitations, jobs existed in significant numbers in the national
economy that she could perform. (ECF No. 19 at 3). Ingram sought review of her case by the
Appeals Council. The Appeals Council denied Ingram’s second request for review, making the
ALJ’s decision the final decision of the Commissioner. The present action followed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
The federal judiciary has a limited role in the administrative scheme established by the
SSA. Section 405(g) of the Act provides, “the 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). “Substantial evidence has been defined . . . as more than a scintilla, but less than a
preponderance.” Thomas v. Celebrezze, 331 F.2d 541, 543 (4th Cir. 1964). This standard
precludes a de novo review of the factual circumstances that substitutes the court’s findings for
those of the Commissioner. Vitek v. Finch, 438 F.2d 1157 (4th Cir. 1971). Thus, in its review,
the court may not “undertake to re-weigh conflicting evidence, make credibility determinations,
or substitute [its] own judgment for that of the [Commissioner].” Craig, 76 F.3d at 589.
However, “[f]rom this it does not follow . . . that the findings of the administrative
agency are to be mechanically accepted. The statutorily granted right of review contemplates
more than an uncritical rubber stamping of the administrative agency.” Flack v. Cohen, 413 F.2d
278, 279 (4th Cir. 1969). Rather, “the courts must not abdicate their responsibility to give
careful scrutiny to the whole record to assure that there is a sound foundation for the
[Commissioner’s] findings, and that this conclusion is rational.” Vitek, 438 F.2d at 1157–58.
In her objections, Ingram contends that the magistrate judge erred by (1) finding that
substantial evidence supported the ALJ’s determination that Ingram did not meet Listing 12.05C,
(2) improperly considering the opinion evidence of Dr. John C. Whitley, III, Ph.D., (3)
improperly considering the opinion evidence of Dr. Gregory Fortner, M.D.’s report, and (4)
improperly assigning little weight to Global Assessment of Functioning (“GAF”) scores.
At the time of the ALJ’s decision, Listing 12.05 provided, in pertinent part:
Intellectual Disability: Intellectual disability refers to significantly
subaverage general intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive
functioning initially manifested during the developmental period; i.e., the
evidence demonstrates or supports onset of the impairment before age 22.
The required level of severity for this disorder is met when the requirements
in A, B, C, or D are satisfied.
C. A valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 [Prong 2]
and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and
significant work-related limitation of function [Prong 3];
20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1 § 12.05C (2014). 3
First, Ingram alleges that the ALJ’s determination that Ingram did not meet Listing
12.05C is erroneous. The magistrate judge stated that “the ALJ found that [Ingram] did not meet
Prong 1 or Prong 2 of Listing 12.05C.” (ECF No. 19 at 19). Ingram argues that the ALJ erred
by relying on experts’ diagnoses rather than IQ scores in determining Prong 2 of Listing 12.05C,
asserted that the ALJ cited only one IQ test score, and did not discuss more recent scores or
acknowledge the margin of error. (ECF No. 22 at 2–4). She further alleges that the ALJ
improperly afforded too much weight to the state psychiatric specialists and failed to show that
substantial evidence supports a finding that Ingram did not have deficits in adaptive functioning.
Id. at 2–3.
Ingram’s first objection restates the same argument that was presented to and addressed
in depth by the magistrate judge. (ECF Nos. 16 at 14–18 and 19 at 18–21). See 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); Craig, 76 F.3d at 589; Nichols v. Colvin, No. 2:14-cv-50, 2015 WL 1185894, at *8 (E.D.
Va. Mar. 13, 2015) (stating that “a mere restatement of the arguments raised in the summary
judgment filings does not constitute an ‘objection’ for the purposes of district court review.”
Ingram’s argument was adequately addressed in the clear and well-reasoned Report.
Like the magistrate judge, the court finds that the ALJ considered and discussed all of the IQ test
scores in his 12.05 analysis. In section four of the ALJ’s report, while analyzing Ingram’s
Listing 12.05C was amended as of January 17, 2017, pursuant to the final rule on Revised Medical Criteria for
Evaluating Mental Disorders, in which the Social Security Administration states, “We expect that Federal courts will
review our final decisions using the rules that were in effect at the time we issued the decisions. If a court reverses
our final decision and remands a case for further administrative proceedings after the effective date of these final
rules, we will apply these final rules to the entire period at issue in the decision we make after the court's remand.”
81 Fed. Reg. 66138, 2016 WL 5341732 (Sept. 26, 2016).
capacity pursuant to Listing 12.05, the ALJ noted “that the record shows some IQ scores below
70,” and cited to each of them, “Exhibits 1F [Dr. Spearman], 2F [Dr. Shear], 7F [Dr. Bradley],
and 14F [Dr. Whitley].” (ECF No. 11-2 at 15). The ALJ also noted that Drs. Bradley and
Fortner reported mild mental retardation following their respective examinations. Id.
However, as discussed by the magistrate judge, the ALJ addressed Ingram’s 1992 IQ test
score, conducted at the age of 13, which resulted in a score of 77 (verbal), 77 (performance), and
75 (full scale). (ECF Nos. 11-2 at 15 and 11-7 at 35). He also noted the fact that Dr. Shear, Dr.
Whitley, and Dr. Phillips diagnosed Ingram with borderline intellectual functioning rather than
mental retardation.4 See Jordan v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 470 F. App'x 766, 768–69 (11th Cir.
2012) (“A diagnosis of borderline intellectual functioning is “mutually exclusive of mental
retardation.”). Mild mental retardation is characterized by an IQ level of 50–55 to approximately
70, and borderline intellectual functioning is characterized by slightly higher IQ scores in the 71–
84 range. Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Text Revision,
Washington, DC, American Psychiatric Association, 2000 (“DSM–IV–TR”). Accordingly, the
ALJ determined the evidence to be conflicting as to whether Ingram functioned in the borderline
intellectual functioning range or the mental retardation range.5
Effective September 3, 2013, the Social Security Administration amended Listing 12.05 by replacing the words
“mental retardation” with “intellectual disability.” See 78 Fed. Reg. 46,499, 46,501 (to be codified at 20 C.F.R. pt.
404, subpt. P, App. 1). The change “does not affect the actual medical definition of the disorder or available
programs or service.” Id. at 46,500. As some of the evaluations and diagnoses discussed in this case took place
before the change, both terms appear in this order.
Further contributing to the conflicting evidence, the court notes that Drs. Shear and Whitley diagnosed Ingram with
borderline intellectual functioning despite the results of their IQ tests falling within the mental retardation range.
See 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App'x 1, § 12.00(D)(6)(a) (The introductory section to the Disability Listings for
Mental Disorders provides that “since the results of intelligence tests are only part of the overall assessment, the
narrative report that accompanies the test results should comment on whether the IQ scores are considered valid and
consistent with the developmental history and the degree of functional limitation.”). Dr. Schear cautioned against
interpreting the IQ test results too strictly based on his testing observations and considering all of his evidence, that
Ingram’s abilities are suspected to be in the borderline range. (ECF No. 11-7 at 7, 9). Likewise, Dr. Whitley gave a
final diagnostic opinion of borderline intellectual functioning. While he did not address the validity of the
intelligence test, he cautioned regarding a separate Personality Assessment Inventory test that “[s]ome concern about
“This circuit permits an ALJ to weigh conflicting IQ test results . . . .” Hancock v.
Astrue, 667 F.3d 470, 474 (4th Cir. 2012) (citing Murphy v. Bowen, 810 F.2d 433, 437 (4th Cir.
1987)). An ALJ may “reject [IQ] scores if they are inconsistent with other substantial evidence
in the record such as conflicting professional opinions or other record evidence indicating that
the claimant is historically higher achieving or has more advanced functional capacities than
would be expected from someone with a below-average [IQ].” Maybank v. Astrue, No. C/A
4:08–0643–MBS, 2009 WL 2855461, at *11 (D.S.C. 31 Aug. 2009) (citing 20 C.F.R. §
404.1527(d)(2)); see Popp v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 1497, 1499 (11th Cir.1986) (finding that test
results of this sort should be examined “to assure consistency with daily activities and
behavior.”). See generally Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992) (“[A] valid
I.Q. score need not be conclusive of mental retardation where the I.Q. score is inconsistent with
other evidence in the record of the claimant's daily activities and behavior.”).
The ALJ gave the greatest weight to the opinions of Dr. Samuel Goots and Dr. Craig
Horn, psychologists with substantial experience applying Social Security disability law and
policy, who reviewed the evidence from varied sources including the conflicting evidence
discussed above. (ECF No. 11-2 at 15). Both state agency psychologists considered Ingram’s
IQ testing and acknowledged her scores that were in the mid-60’s but ultimately found that her
adaptive functioning was higher and that her ability was in the borderline intellectual functioning
range. (ECF Nos. 11-7 at 56–59 and 133–146). The ALJ found that the opinions of Drs. Goots
and Horn, as well as Drs. Shear, Whitley, and Philips, who all diagnosed Ingram with borderline
intellectual functioning, were consistent with Ingram’s reported daily activities: driving
distortion of the clinical picture must be raised,” as a result of “subtle suggestions that the client attempted to portray
herself in a negative or pathological manner,” and that the “clinical scale evaluations may overrepresent the extent
and degree of significant test findings in certain areas.” (ECF No. 11-7 at 108, 112).
everyday, including to the administrative hearing; performing household chores; cooking;
laundry; dishes; vacuuming; mopping; sweeping; grocery shopping; and taking care of her
children. (ECF No. 11-2 at 15). The ALJ found that such daily activities were more consistent
with borderline intellectual functioning than with functioning at the mental retardation level. Id.
The court agrees with the magistrate judge’s recommendation and, based on the opinion and
objective evidence in the record, finds that substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s decision to
disregard the IQ scores that were inconsistent with the other evidence in the record and the ALJ’s
decision that Ingram did not meet Listing 12.05.
Further, even if the ALJ had not rejected the conflicting IQ test scores and had found that
Ingram satisfied Prong 2 of the Listing 12.05C analysis, the result would be the same due to
Ingram’s inability to satisfy Prong 1. Sullivan v. Zebley, 493 U.S. 521, 530 (1990) (“For a
claimant to show that his impairment matches a listing, it must meet all of the specified medical
criteria. An impairment that manifests only some of those criteria, no matter how severely, does
not qualify.”); 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App. 1 § 12.00(A) (“If [a claimant’s] impairment
satisfies the diagnostic description in the introductory paragraph [Prong 1] and any one of the
four sets of criteria [paragraphs A through D], we will find that [the] impairment meets the
listing.”) (emphasis added). Accordingly, any error alleged by Ingram regarding Prong 2 would
be harmless. Austin v. Astrue, C.A. No. 7:06-0622, 2007 WL 3070601, at *6 (W.D. Va. Oct. 18,
2007) (“Errors are harmless in Social Security cases when it is inconceivable that a different
administrative conclusion would have been reached absent the error.” (citing Camp v.
Massanari, 22 Fed. App’x. 311 (4th Cir.2001)).
“The ALJ’s rejection of Ingram meeting Listing 12.05C was based upon his finding that
she failed to demonstrate evidence she met the ‘deficits in adaptive functioning’ (Prong 1)
requirement of the listing,” according to Ingram. (ECF No. 16 at 16); see 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404,
Subpt. P, App. 1 § 12.05 (“Intellectual disability refers to significantly subaverage general
intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the
developmental period.”). Listing 12.05 does not define adaptive functioning. In determining
Prong 1, courts in this district consider factors including IQ range and diagnosis, literacy,
independence, care or supervision of others, and abilities. See e.g., Weedon v. Astrue, C.A. No.
0:11-02971-DCN-PJG, 2013 WL 1315311, at *5–7 (D.S.C. Mar. 28, 2013) (reviewing cases
interpreting and applying 12.05); see also Jackson v. Astrue, 467 F. App'x 214, 217–18 (4th Cir.
Feb. 23, 2012) (unpublished) (“Deficits in adaptive functioning can include limitations in areas
such as communication, self-care, home living, social/interpersonal skills, use of community
resources, self-direction, functional academic skills, work, leisure, health, and safety.” (citing
Atkins v. Virginia, 536 U.S. 304, 309 n. 3 (2002)).
Applying these factors to the record presented, the court finds that substantial evidence
supports the ALJ’s conclusion that Ingram failed to establish the requisite deficits in adaptive
functioning pursuant to Prong 1. As discussed above, substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s
conclusion that Ingram had borderline intellectual functioning. DSM–IV–TR explains that the
differentiation between mild mental retardation and borderline intellectual functioning is more
dependent upon adaptive functioning than numerical scores.
See Diagnostic & Statistical
Manual of Mental Disorders, supra. Further the ALJ noted evidence from the record showing
that Ingram’s daily activities included driving, caring for her three children, shopping, paying
bills, doing laundry, and preparing meals; that, while Ingram had some attention and academic
deficits, the activities of daily living conducted by Ingram evince substantial ability with regard
to concentration, persistence, and pace; and that the state agency psychologists assessed that
claimant’s mental impairments caused only mild restriction in activities of daily living.6 See,
e.g., Hancock v. Astrue, 667 F.3d 470, 476, n.3 (affirming ALJ's consideration of the claimant's
ability to perform tasks such as shopping, paying bills, and performing chores, stating, “[I]n
finding no deficits in adaptive functioning, the ALJ . . . relied on the various tasks that Hancock
is able to complete, which, alone, amount to substantial evidence supporting the ALJ's
Ingram’s objection that the ALJ erred by giving too much weight to the opinions of Drs.
Horn and Goots fails. Pursuant to the above discussion, the weight that the ALJ gave to the state
agency psychologist opinions is supported by substantial evidence. The ALJ was required to
consider the state agency physician assessments as opinion evidence. See 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1527(e)(2)(i), 416.927(e)(2)(i) (“State agency medical and psychological consultants . . . are
highly qualified physicians, psychologists, and other medical specialists who are also experts in
Social Security disability evaluation.
Therefore, administrative law judges must consider
findings and other opinions of State agency medical and psychological consultants . . . as opinion
evidence . . .”); SSR 96-6p, 1996 WL 374180, at *3 (“In appropriate circumstances, opinions
from State agency medical . . . consultants . . . may be entitled to greater weight than the
opinions of treating or examining sources.”); Gordon v. Schweiker, 725 F.2d 231, 235 (4th Cir.
1984) (“[T]he testimony of a non-examining, non-treating physician should be discounted and is
not substantial evidence when totally contradicted by other evidence in the record . . . [W]e have
also ruled that the testimony of a non-examining physician can be relied upon when it is
consistent with the record.”) (citations omitted).
The court observes that the ALJ’s analysis of Listing 12.05 is combined with an analysis of Listings 12.02, 12.04,
and 12.06 which address similar issues pertinent to the Listing 12.05C inquiry. (ECF No. 11-2 at 15–16).
Finally, regarding Ingram’s margin of error argument, the Fourth Circuit has previously
rejected the Listing 12.05 IQ margin of error argument in an unpublished opinion, criticizing it
as an assertion that “close counts in horseshoes as well as the Listings.” Bennett v. Bowen, 884
F.2d 1387, at *4 (4th Cir. 1989) (unpublished) (internal quotations omitted); see also Burns v.
Barnhart, 312 F.3d 113, 125 (3d Cir. 2002) (“We conclude that if we were to read an error range
of five points into the regulation, it would violate the plain language of the regulation . . . .”),
Dover v. Apfel, 203 F.3d 834, at *2 (10th Cir. 2000) (unpublished) (“We note that all of the
circuit courts that have considered similar ‘margin of error’ arguments with respect to Listing
12.05(C) have rejected it.”).
In his second objection, Ingram asserts that the ALJ erred by failing to explain how he
gave great weight to Dr. Whitley’s opinion, but found throughout his decision that Ingram was
capable of caring for her children. Dr. Whitley’s opinion stated in 2007 that Ingram was “illequipped to manage children that present with significant behavioral and emotional issues.”
(ECF No. 11-7 at 114). Ingram reported being stressed and overwhelmed when caring for her
very young children, ages 4 through 6. Id. at 105–114.
As the magistrate judge stated, the ALJ correctly noted that Ingram testified at the
hearing that her three children, between 11 and 13 years old at the time of the hearing, lived with
her and her mother and that Ingram took care of the children. (ECF No. 11-2 at 16–18, 20, 39–
40, 50, 57). Ingram’s testimony that she presently lives with her mother and cares for her
children is uncontradicted in the record; Dr. Whitley’s 2007 diagnosis does not affect the truth of
Ingram’s current living situation. Accordingly, considering the ALJ’s analysis of the record and
opinion evidence as a whole, Ingram’s objection fails to show that the ALJ’s conclusion was
unsupported by substantial evidence.
Further, Ingram argues that the ALJ failed to explain “how he gave great weight to Dr.
Whitley’s opinion but did not discuss the entire opinion and how it was incorporated into the
RFC.” (ECF No. 22 at 6). However, the ALJ discussed Dr. Whitley’s opinion multiple times
throughout his RFC analysis. (ECF No. 11-2 at 20–21). The fact that every detail from Dr.
Whitley’s report was not specifically mentioned does not cause the ALJ’s analysis to be
deficient. See Reid v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 769 F.3d 861, 865 (4th Cir. 2014) (stating that “there
is no rigid requirement that the ALJ specifically refer to every piece of evidence in his
decision”). Rather, an ALJ “need only ‘minimally articulate’ his reasoning so as to ‘make a
bridge’ between the evidence and his conclusions.” Jackson v. Astrue, C.A. No. 8:08–cv–2855,
2010 WL 500449, at *10 (D.S.C. Feb. 5, 2010) (quoting Fischer v. Barnhart, 129 Fed. App’x
297, 303 (7th Cir. 2005)). “The touchstone for determining what evidence must be addressed is
whether the evidence is so material that failing to address it would prevent the court from
determining if the ALJ's decision was supported by substantial evidence.” Woodbury v. Colvin,
C.A. No. 9:15-2635-DCN, 2016 WL 5539525, at *3 (D.S.C. Sept. 30, 2016); see also Bowen
Transp. Inc. v. Arkansas-Best Freight System, Inc., 419 U.S. 281, 285–86 (1974) (stating
“[w]hile [the court] may not supply a reasoned basis for the agency’s action that the agency itself
has not given, . . . [the court] will uphold a decision of less than ideal clarity if the agency’s path
may reasonably be discerned.”).
The ALJ acknowledged that “Dr. Whitley’s opinions are generally consistent with the
opinions of Drs. Horn and Phillips,” including in his overall diagnostic impression of Ingram as
borderline intellectual functioning. (ECF No. 11-2 at 21) (emphasis added). Ingram cites to no
authority in her brief (ECF No. 16 at 24) or objections (ECF No. 22 at 6) suggesting that any of
the elements of Dr. Whitley’s report affect the fact that the ALJ’s conclusion is supported by
substantial evidence. It is sufficiently apparent that by examining the medical and opinion
evidence (and explicitly discussing Dr. Whitley’s opinion multiple times in the RFC analysis),
the ALJ considered Dr. Whitley’s complete opinion along with the rest of the opinion evidence
to determine Ingram’s RFC.
Third, Ingram argues that the ALJ erred in considering Dr. Fortner’s opinion. Ingram
alleges that "the ALJ erroneously concludes that Dr. Fortner’s report was likely based on his
diagnosis of mental retardation.” (ECF No. 22 at 7).7 She states that it was reasonable for Dr.
Fortner to encourage her to apply for disability. The court finds this objection somewhat unclear
but finds that Ingram’s argument offers no evidence or law to suggest that the ALJ’s statement
was in error or had any improper effect on his overall decision.
Further, Ingram stated that, “Dr. Fortner concurs with Dr. Whitley, whose opinion was
given great weight, that Ingram would need a more stable environment in order to care for her
children,” and argued that the ALJ failed to consider this portion of the opinion. (ECF No. 22 at
7). First, as discussed above, Ingram subsequently moved in with her mother, and her three
children live with her.8 The ALJ mentioned Dr. Forster’s opinion in both the Listing 12.05
analysis and the RFC analysis and noted that he gave it minimum weight due to the opinion’s
failure to describe any work-related limitations or state whether Ingram was “disabled” in
addition to the fact that the opinion’s diagnosis of mental retardation was contrary to the ALJ’s
In his opinion, Dr. Fortner stated, “I feel [Ingram’s] primary problem is related to her developmental disability and
When Dr. Fortner assessed Ingram in 2008, the record shows that she was living at the Salvation Army and had
been unsuccessful in getting her own residence. (ECF No. 11-7 at 10).
assessment of the weight of the evidence. (ECF No. 11-2 at 15, 21). As noted above, the ALJ
does not need to specifically mention each piece of every expert’s opinion. Thus, Ingram fails to
demonstrate that the ALJ neglected to consider specific portions of Dr. Fortner’s opinion.
Fourth, Ingram argues that the ALJ erred by assigning little weight to the GAF scores of
37 [by Dr. Phillips] and 48 [by Dr. Bradley]. However, Ingram raised the same concerns
regarding the ALJ’s interpretation of the GAF scores in her brief (ECF No. 16 at 27–30) and the
magistrate judge addressed her argument in the Report (ECF No. 19 at 22–23). The inquiry
before the court is not whether the ALJ should have given greater weight to those opinions, but
rather whether the weight given to those opinions by the ALJ is supported by substantial
evidence. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g); see also Craig, 76 F.3d at 589 (stating that the court does no
“undertake to re-weigh conflicting evidence, make credibility determinations, or substitute our
judgment for that of the [ALJ]”). The magistrate judge addressed Ingram’s argument regarding
the GAF scores at length and the court finds that substantial evidence in the record supports the
ALJ’s assessment. See Craig, 76 F.3d at 589 (“Substantial evidence is ‘such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.’ ”) (quoting Richardson
v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)). Accordingly, Ingram’s objections are overruled.
Having conducted the required de novo review of the issues to which Ingram has
objected, the court finds no basis for disturbing the Report. The court concurs with both the
reasoning and the result reached by the Magistrate Judge in her Report, and finds that the ALJ’s
decision is supported by substantial evidence. Therefore, the court adopts the Report (ECF No.
19) and the Commissioner’s decision is AFFIRMED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
s/Timothy M. Cain
United States District Judge
Anderson, South Carolina
September 25, 2017
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