Keel v. Saul, No. 20-10728 (5th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision upholding the Commissioner's denial of supplemental security income and disability insurance benefits to plaintiff. The court explained that, although the ALJ did not mention the Stone standard, it did cite Social Security Ruling (SSR) 85-28, 1985 WL 56856 (Jan. 1, 1985), a policy statement issued to clarify the agency’s process for determining non-severe impairments. The court held that SSR 85-28 comports with the Stone standard. The court also held that, even if the ALJ failed to properly apply the Stone standard, the error is harmless. In this case, plaintiff does not meaningfully address how the ALJ's application of SSR 85-28 (instead of citing Stone) produced a different outcome in her case.