United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
BRENDA E. SIRACUSE, Plaintiff,
ACTING COMMISSIONER OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
C. RICHARDSON, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
CAUSE is before the Court on Plaintiff's appeal of an
administrative decision denying her applications for a Period
of Disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”). Plaintiff alleges she became disabled on
January 1, 2011. (Tr. 216, 227.) A video hearing was held
before the assigned Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) on October 16, 2014, at which Plaintiff
was represented by an attorney. (Tr. 36-54.) The ALJ found
Plaintiff not disabled from January 1, 2011 through November
6, 2014, the date of the decision. (Tr. 16-30.)
reaching the decision, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had the
following severe impairments: an ankle disorder, an affective
disorder, an anxiety disorder, and borderline intellectual
functioning. (Tr. 21.) The ALJ then found that Plaintiff did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that met
or medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.
(Tr. 21-22.) Specifically, the ALJ found that the
requirements of Listing 12.05(C), intellectual disability,
were not met because, despite Plaintiff's full scale
intelligence quotient (“IQ”) scores of 65 and 61,
there was evidence of adaptive functioning in that Plaintiff
had worked as an assistant manager for over nine years and
had been assessed at the borderline intellectual functioning
level. (Tr. 23.) Then, after finding that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
light work with limitations,  the ALJ ultimately found that
there were jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 23, 28.)
is appealing the Commissioner's decision that she was not
disabled from January 1, 2011 through November 6, 2014.
Plaintiff has exhausted her available administrative remedies
and the case is properly before the Court. The Court has
reviewed the record, the briefs, and the applicable law.
reasons stated herein, the Commissioner's decision is
REVERSED and REMANDED.
Standard of Review
scope of this Court's review is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards,
McRoberts v. Bowen, 841 F.2d 1077, 1080 (11th Cir.
1988), and whether the Commissioner's findings are
supported by substantial evidence, Richardson v.
Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390 (1971). “Substantial
evidence is more than a scintilla and is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Crawford v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004). Where
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 evidence
preponderates against the Commissioner's decision.
Edwards v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 584 n.3 (11th
Cir. 1991); Barnes v. Sullivan, 932 F.2d 1356, 1358
(11th Cir. 1991). The district court must view the evidence
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); accord Lowery v.
Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992) (stating
the court must scrutinize the entire record to determine the
reasonableness of the Commissioner's factual findings).
Relevant Evidence of Record
Elek J. Ludvigh, Ph.D.
16, 2012, Dr. Ludvigh conducted a psychological examination
of Plaintiff. (Tr. 317-21.) He administered four tests: the
Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV),
the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System-Second Edition
(ABAS-II), the Incomplete Sentences Form (Verbal
Administration), and the LV Type Indicator (Verbal
Administration). (Tr. 317.) Dr. Ludvigh observed:
[Plaintiff] was noticeably underweight, arrived for the
interview poorly dressed and groomed, but made a good overall
personal impression, given her intellectual limitations and
emotional distress. She was alert, pleasant, open, and
cooperative, but also exhibited frequent nervous laughter,
and periodic tearfulness.
Under Relevant Developmental Background, Dr. Ludvigh stated
Brenda reports that she was in Special Education classes in
school due to being “a slow learner.” She
withdrew from school after completing the tenth grade, and
was told she needed to either return to school or get a job.
Brenda began working, and reports that she has primarily
worked in fast food restaurants. She was employed by
Hardee's for over nine years as a cashier and line
supervisor, and states that she “loved that job.”
Brenda last worked for Checkers, and states she was with that
employer for over one year. She quit because “The kids
were telling me what to do and how to do it, and the manager
didn't care.” Brenda reports that she is currently
unable to work because she does not have a valid Id.
Her Florida ID card has expired and she needs a copy of her
birth certificate in order to obtain a new Id.
Brenda is currently homeless, cannot financially afford to
obtain a copy of her birth certificate, and also lacks a home
In his Personality Assessment, Dr. Ludvigh opined:
Brenda does the best she knows how to do, and has a
surprisingly good work history, given her limited ability to
quickly acquire and retain job skills. She very much wants to
obtain and maintain stable employment, but is currently
overwhelmed by the difficulties associated with being
homeless, not having a valid ID, having lost her social
security card, and lacking the computer and literacy skills
to adequately complete on-line job applications. It is
expected that Brenda will be a good employee if her living
situation can be stabilized and if she can be assisted in
full scale IQ score was 65, showing that she was
“functioning within the [m]ildly [m]entally [r]etarded
range of intellectual ability (approximately 1% of the
population scores below this point).” (Id.) On
the ABAS-II, Plaintiff “obtained a Generalized Adaptive
Composite score of 69. Her highest scores were in the areas
of Home Living and ...