Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Addison v. Commissioner of Social Security

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division

June 16, 2017

LISA PAULETTE ADDISON, Plaintiff,
v.
COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

          ORDER [1]

          THOMAS B. SMITH, United States Magistrate Judge

         Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), to obtain judicial review of a final decision of Defendant the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her claims for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits, and supplemental security income under the Act. Upon a review of the record, and after due consideration, the Commissioner's final decision is AFFIRMED.

         Background[2]

         Plaintiff filed for benefits on August 3, 2012, alleging an onset date of May 26, 2012 (Tr. 20). She claimed disability due to spinal stenosis, depression, tendonitis, numbness on lips, face, arms and legs, severe pain, and muscle spasm (Tr. 263). When she made her applications, Plaintiff was a “younger individual age 45-49” (Tr. 27). On October 16, 2014, her age category changed to an individual closely approaching advanced age (Tr. 27). She has a high school education, almost two years of college (Tr. 40, 386) and a past work history as a hearing aid inspector, printing inspector, and label inspector (Tr. 62).

         Plaintiff's applications were denied initially and on reconsideration, and she requested and received a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) (Tr. 20). In a partially favorable decision dated February 25, 2015, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled prior to October 16, 2014 (her 50th birthday), but the ALJ decided that Plaintiff became disabled on her birthday and continued to be disabled through the date of the decision (Tr. 20-29). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on May 20, 2016 (Tr. 1). Consequently, the ALJ's February 25, 2015 decision is the final decision of the Commissioner. Having exhausted the available administrative remedies, Plaintiff filed this action for judicial review (Doc. 1). The matter is fully briefed and ripe for resolution.

         The ALJ's Decision

         In determining whether an individual is disabled, the ALJ must follow the five-step sequential evaluation process established by the Social Security Administration and set forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4) and 416.920(a)(4). Specifically, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant (1) is currently employed; (2) has a severe impairment; (3) has an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals an impairment listed at 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1; (4) can perform past relevant work; and (5) retains the ability to perform any work in the national economy. See Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237-1240 (11th Cir. 2004). The claimant 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); Phillips, 357 F.3d at 1241 n.10.

         At step one, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date (Tr. 22). At step two, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had the severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine, depression, anxiety, osteoarthritis of the bilateral knees, and obesity (20 CFR 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)) (Id.). At step three, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (Tr. 23). Next, the ALJ found that Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to:

perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, but should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant could occasionally balance, stoop, crouch, crawl, and kneel, but she should avoid exposure to extreme cold, heat, humid, vibration, fumes, odors, dust, gases, and poor ventilation. Additionally, she should avoid working at unprotected heights and near dangerous machinery. The claimant could perform simple repetitive 1-3 step tasks with occasional changes in the work setting and she must elevate her legs to 1 foot, 25% of the workday.

(Tr. 24).

         At step four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff was unable to return to her past relevant work (Tr. 27). Then, considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC and relying on the testimony of a vocational expert, the ALJ concluded that, prior to October 16, 2014, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy, including touch up inspector, final assembler, and bonder, that Plaintiff could have performed (Tr. 28). The ALJ also found that, beginning on October 16, 2014, there were no jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform (Id.). Therefore, the ALJ held that Plaintiff was not disabled prior to October 16, 2014, but she became disabled on that date and has continued to be disabled through the date of the decision (Tr. 28). The ALJ further determined that Plaintiff was not under a disability at any time through December 31, 2013, her date last insured (Tr. 29).

         Standard of Review

         The scope of the Court's review is limited to determining whether the ALJ applied the correct legal standards and whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence. Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004). Findings of fact are conclusive if supported by substantial evidence. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is “more than a scintilla but less than a preponderance. It is such relevant evidence that a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011) (citation omitted).

         When the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial evidence the district court will affirm even if the reviewer would have reached a contrary result as finder of fact, and even if the reviewer finds that the preponderance of the evidence is against the Commissioner's decision. Miles v. Chater, 84 F.3d 1397, 1400 (11th Cir. 1996). The district court “may not decide facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute our judgment for that of the [Commissioner.]” Id. "The district court must view the record as a whole, taking into account evidence favorable as well as unfavorable to the decision." Foote v. Chater,67 F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir. 1995) (per ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.