OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL J. CLEARY, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Ronnie Clay Allen, Sr. ("Allen"), seeks judicial review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying his application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq. For the reasons discussed below, the Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
Social Security Law and Standard of Review
Disability under the Social Security Act is defined as the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment." 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). A claimant is disabled under the Act only if his "physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering his 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). Social Security regulations implement a five-step sequential process to evaluate a disability claim. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520.
Judicial review of the Commissioner's determination is limited in scope to two inquiries: first, whether the decision was supported by substantial evidence; and, second, whether the correct legal standards were applied. Hamlin v. Barnhart, 365 F.3d 1208, 1214 (10th Cir. 2004).
"Substantial evidence is such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. It requires more than a scintilla, but less than a preponderance." Wall, 561 F.3d at 1052 (quotation and citation omitted). Although the court will not reweigh the evidence, the court will "meticulously examine the record as a whole, including anything that may undercut or detract from the ALJ's findings in order to determine if the substantiality test has been met." Id.
Allen was forty-two years old on the alleged date of onset of disability and forty-four on the date of the Commissioner's final decision. [R. 1, R. 150 (Ex. 1D)]. He has a GED. [R.40]. He has previous experience as an auto glass installer. [R. 154 (Ex. B2E)]. In his application, he claimed to be unable to work as a result of bipolar I and II disorder with psychotic tendencies, major depression, high cholesterol, hand shaking, tiredness, memory and concentration, inability to get along with others, blood sugar and elevated liver enzymes.
The ALJ's Decision
In his decision, the ALJ found that Allen last met insured status requirements on March 31, 2014, and, at Step One, that he had not engaged in any substantial gainful activity during the period from his amended alleged onset date of February 8, 2013, through his date last insured of March 31, 2014. [R. 14]. He found at Step Two that Allen had severe impairments of bipolar disorder and substance addiction disorder. Id. At Step Three, he found that the impairments did not meet or medically equal any listing. [R. 14-15]. He concluded that Allen had the following residual functional capacity ("RFC"):
[R. 16]. At Step Four, the ALJ determined that through the date last insured, Allen was unable to perform any past relevant work. [R. 24]. At Step Five, he found that, considering Allen's age, education, work experience and residual functional capacity, there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy that he could have performed, including hand packager, DOT #920.587-018, unskilled (SVP-2), medium exertion, 666,000 in the national economy; auto detailer, DOT #915.687-034, unskilled (SVP-2), medium exertion, 290,000 in the national economy; and box maker, DOT #794.684-014, unskilled (SVP-2), medium exertion, 239,000 in the national economy. [R. 25].
Accordingly, the ALJ found that Allen had not been under a disability at any time from February 8, 2013, the amended alleged onset date, through March 31, 2014, the date last insured. Id.
On appeal, Allen asserts that the ALJ should have given greater weight to the expert medical opinion of his treating licensed behavioral health professional ("LBHP"), should have recontacted the LBHP to ascertain if her opinion was relevant to the period before the date last insured and should have arranged to have a medical expert review all records in evidence before and after the date last insured.
At the January 23, 2015, administrative hearing, Allen's attorney proffered and the ALJ admitted a form Medical Source Statement — Mental from CREOKS Behavioral Health in Pryor, Oklahoma. [R. 636-638 (Ex. B18F)]. The form is dated January 21, 2015, and signed by family therapist Mari L. Nichols, LBHP. Id.
[R. 638]. No CREOK treatment notes were submitted.
The ALJ gave Ms. Nichols' Medical Source Statement "virtually no weight" because she was not an acceptable medical source and did not see Allen until well after his date last insured of March 31, 2014. [R. 23].
Allen acknowledges Ms. Nichols was not an "acceptable medical source" but rather an "other source." See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1513(a), (d). However, he argues the ALJ failed to analyze her opinion or adequately discuss the 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c) factors.
Citing Social Security Ruling 96-5p
However, it is undisputed that Ms. Nichols did not treat Allen before the date last insured. Accordingly, her medical source statement did not create a duty to develop the record. See Flaherty v. Astrue, 515 F.3d 1067, 1072 (10th Cir. 2007) (no duty to develop the record where plaintiff pointed to no opinion relating her April 2003 condition to the relevant period of March 5, 2002 to December 31, 2002). See also Villalobos v. Colvin, 544 Fed. Appx. 793, 796 (10th Cir. 2013) (unpublished) (doctor's post-decision letter stating that claimant "now has Depression with anxiety" did not create need to further develop the record).
Moreover, in 2012, the regulation was amended, so that the agency is only required to "try to resolve the inconsistency or insufficiency" in the evidence through any of several options, one of which is recontacting the treating physician. See 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520b(c).
Finally, the Court rejects Allen's argument that the ALJ should have appointed a qualified Medical Expert to review the record and assist the ALJ in assessing the onset date and date last insured. The ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence, and the court "may neither reweigh the evidence nor substitute [its] discretion for that of the Commissioner." Hamlin, 365 F.3d at 1214 (quotation omitted).
The Court finds that the ALJ evaluated the record in accordance with the legal standards established by the Commissioner and the courts and further that there is substantial evidence in the record to support the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, the decision of the Commissioner finding Allen is not disabled is hereby
SSR 96-5P (S.S.A.), 1996 WL 374183.