United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
S. Sneed Judge.
Linder Gater, seeks judicial review of the denial of her
claim for supplemental security income. As the Administrative
Law Judge's (“ALJ”) decision was based on
substantial evidence and employed proper legal standards, the
decision is affirmed.
filed an application for supplemental security income in July
2011. (Tr. 168-173.) The Commissioner denied Plaintiff's
claims both initially and upon reconsideration. (Tr. 96-102,
110-14.) Plaintiff then requested an administrative hearing.
(Tr. 115-17.) Upon Plaintiff's request, the ALJ held a
hearing at which Plaintiff appeared and testified. (Tr.
26-62.) Following the hearing, the ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision finding Plaintiff not disabled and, accordingly,
denied Plaintiff's claim for benefits. (Tr. 8-24.)
Subsequently, Plaintiff requested review from the Appeals
Council, which the Appeals Council denied. (Tr. 1-7.)
Plaintiff then timely filed a complaint with this Court.
(Dkt. 1.) The case is now ripe for review under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
Factual Background and the ALJ's Decision
who was born in 1963, claimed disability beginning on April
1, 2007. (Tr. 168.) Plaintiff's past relevant work
experience included work as a food packer and hotel/motel
housekeeper. (Tr. 19, 57.) Plaintiff alleged disability due
to scoliosis, a vision problem, a back problem, and a
“LET” problem. (Tr. 204.)
rendering the decision, the ALJ concluded that Plaintiff had
not performed substantial gainful activity since July 29,
2011, the application date. (Tr. 13.) After conducting a
hearing and reviewing the evidence of record, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: obesity, lumbago, bipolar disorder, and
posttraumatic stress disorder. (Tr. 13.) The ALJ found
Plaintiff's impairments of respiratory symptoms, skin
lesions (dermatophytosis), and visual disturbances
non-severe. (Tr. 13-14.) Notwithstanding the noted
impairments, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 14-15.)
then concluded that Plaintiff retained a residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform light work, such that
Plaintiff can: occasionally lift, carry, push, or pull twenty
pounds; frequently lift, carry, push, or pull ten pounds;
stand and/or walk for about six hours out of an eight-hour
workday; occasionally climb, crouch, and crawl; understand,
remember, and carry out detailed, but not complex,
instructions; interact appropriately with co-workers,
supervisors, and the public; maintain attention and
concentration for two hours at a time; and adapt to routine
changes in the workplace. (Tr. 15.) In formulating
Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ considered Plaintiff's
subjective complaints and determined that, although the
evidence established the presence of underlying impairments
that reasonably could be expected to produce the symptoms
alleged, Plaintiff's statements as to the intensity,
persistence, and limiting effects of her symptoms were not
fully credible. (Tr. 16, 18.)
Plaintiff's noted impairments and the assessment of a
vocational expert (“VE”), the ALJ determined that
Plaintiff could perform her past relevant work as a food
packer and hotel/motel housekeeper. (Tr. 19.) Accordingly,
the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 19-20.)
entitled to benefits, a claimant must be disabled, meaning
that the claimant must be unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result
in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). A “physical
or mental impairment” is an impairment that results
from anatomical, physiological, or psychological
abnormalities that are demonstrable by medically acceptable
clinical and laboratory diagnostic techniques. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 423(d)(3), 1382c(a)(3)(D).
Social Security Administration, in order to regularize the
adjudicative process, promulgated the detailed regulations
currently in effect. These regulations establish a
“sequential evaluation process” to determine
whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 416.920. If
an individual is found disabled at any point in the
sequential review, further inquiry is unnecessary. 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.920(a). Under this process, the ALJ must
determine, in sequence, the following: (1) whether the
claimant is currently engaged in substantial gainful
activity; (2) whether the claimant has a severe impairment,
i.e., one that significantly limits the ability to perform
work-related functions; (3) whether the severe impairment
meets or equals the medical criteria of 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, Appendix 1; and, (4) whether the claimant can
perform his or her past relevant work. If the claimant cannot
perform the tasks required of his or her prior work, step
five of the evaluation requires the ALJ to decide if the
claimant can do other work in the national economy in view of
the claimant's age, education, and work experience. 20
C.F.R. § 416.920(a). A claimant is entitled to benefits
only if unable to perform other work. Bowen v.
Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 140-42 (1987); 20 C.F.R. §
determination by the Commissioner that a claimant is not
disabled must be upheld if it is supported by substantial
evidence and comports with applicable legal standards.
See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is
“such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion.”
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401 (1971)
(quoting Consol. Edison Co. v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197,
229 (1938)); Miles v. Chater, 84 F.3d 1397, 1400
(11th Cir. 1996). While the court reviews the
Commissioner's decision with deference to the ...