Allman v. Colvin, No. 15-7026 (10th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff-appellant Michael Allman applied for Social Security disability benefits, claiming he could not work due to spina bifida, a shunt in his brain, chronic back pain, headaches, depression, and anxiety. An administrative law judge (ALJ) concluded that plaintiff's residual functional capacity (RFC) permitted him to perform a number of jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy, defeating his disability claim. At step two of the applicable five-step sequential evaluation, the ALJ determined that plaintiff's headaches were not a “severe impairment” within the meaning of the Social Security Act and its corresponding regulations. Nevertheless, the ALJ discussed and considered plaintiff's headaches in assessing his RFC to work. After the ALJ denied his claim, the Appeals Council denied review and the district court affirmed after adopting the magistrate judge’s report and recommendation and overruling plaintiff's objections. The district court concluded that plaintiff failed to demonstrate that his headaches qualified as a severe impairment and that the ALJ had provided sufficient bases for not assigning more weight to his doctor's opinion. On appeal, plaintiff challenged, among other things, the district court’s findings regarding the ALJ’s determinations at steps two and four. Finding no reversible error, the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court.