United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Ocala Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
R. LAMMENS United States Magistrate Judge
appeals the administrative decision denying his application
for Social Security Income (''SSI"). Upon a
review of the record, the memoranda, and the applicable law,
I submit that the Commissioner's decision should be
December 13, 2012, Plaintiff filed an application for SSI,
alleging disability beginning June 10.1989. (Tr. 176). The
claim was denied initially, and upon reconsideration. (Tr.
76-119). At Plaintiffs request, a hearing was held before
Administrative Law Judge Douglas A. Walker ("ALJ"),
who then issued a notice of unfavorable decision, finding
Plaintiff not disabled. (Tr. 16-75).
one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since the application date. (Tr.
21). At step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the
following severe impairments: hearing loss, anxiety disorder,
and bipolar II disorder. (Tr. 21).
three, the ALJ found that Plaintiff did not have an
impairment or a combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R.
Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 21-28). Next, the ALJ
found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional
capacity ("RFC") to perform less than the full
range of medium work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
The claimant requires work which is simple and unskilled, or
low semi-skilled in nature, which are tasks performed so
frequently as to be considered routine, even though the tasks
themselves might be considered simple (work with a Specific
Vocational Preparation (S VP) code of three or below). The
claimant can lift or carry twenty-five pounds frequently, and
fifty pounds occasionally. The claimant can stand and/or walk
for a total of six hours in an eight-hour workday. The
claimant can sit for a total of six hours in an eight-hour
workday. The claimant should avoid frequent ascending and
descending of stairs. The claimant should avoid hazards in
the workplace and should be restricted to a "relatively
clean" work environment (low levels of pollutants and
stable temperatures). The claimant can perform each of the
following postural activities occasionally, balancing,
stooping, crouching, kneeling, and crawling, but not the
climbing of ropes or scaffolds, and of ladders exceeding six
feet. The claimant has non-exertional mental limitations
which substantially affect his ability to concentrate upon
complex or detailed tasks, but he would remain capable of
understanding, remembering, carrying out job instructions as
defined earlier, and he can make work related judgments and
decisions, he can respond appropriately to supervision,
co-workers, and work situations, and he can deal with changes
in a routine work setting. The claimant should avoid
stressful situations such as working with co-workers in a
team, and working directly with the public (although there
may be some indirect contact). The claimant should avoid
working in an environment where he would have frequent
interpersonal interaction or discussion that is required with
co-workers outside the normal workplace banter: The
individual should work in an environment where he makes few
decisions and uses little judgment. The claimant has left
sided deafness, but his right-sided hearing is normal, and
the claimant has no difficulties in hearing normal
(Tr. 28-36). At step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
has no past relevant work. (Tr. 37).
five, however, the ALJ found that considering Plaintiffs age,
education, work experience, and RFC, there are unskilled jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the Plaintiff can perform-tagger, electrode cleaner,
silver wrapper, laundry sorter. (Tr. 37-38). Thus the ALJ
found that Plaintiff was not disabled since December 13,
2012. (Tr. 38).
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiffs request for review,
making the hearing decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. (Tr. 1-7). With his administrative remedies
exhausted, Plaintiff filed the instant appeal. (Doc. 1).
Standard of Review
claimant is entitled to disability benefits when he is unable
to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of
any medically determinable physical or mental impairment,
which can be expected to either result in death or last for a
continuous period of not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 416(i)(1), 423(d)(1)(A); 20 C.F.R. §
Commissioner has established a five-step sequential analysis
for evaluating a claim of disability, which is by now
well-known and otherwise set forth in the ALJ's decision.
See 20 CFR §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a);
see also Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th
Cir. 2001). The claimant, of course, bears the burden of
persuasion through step four and, at step five, the burden
shifts to the Commissioner. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 146 n. 5 (1987).
scope of this Court's review is limited to a
determination of whether the ALJ applied the correct legal
standards and whether the findings are supported by
substantial evidence. McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d
1077, 1080 (11th Cir. 1988) (citing Richardson v.
Perales,402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971)). Indeed, the
Commissioner's findings of fact are conclusive if
supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla-i.e., the
evidence must do more than merely create a suspicion of the
existence of a fact, and must include such relevant evidence
as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support
the conclusion. Foote v. Chater,67 F.3d 1553, 1560
(11th Cir. 1995) (citing Walden v. Schweiker, 672
F.2d 835, 838 (11th Cir. 1982) and Richardson, 402
U.S. at 401); accord Edwards v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d
580, 584 n.3 (11th Cir. 1991). Where the Commissioner's
decision is supported by substantial evidence, the District
Court will affirm, even if the reviewer would have reached ...