United States District Court, N.D. Florida, Gainesville Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
CHARLES A. STAMPELOS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Social Security case was referred to the undersigned upon
consent of the parties, ECF No. 8, by United States District
Judge Mark E. Walker. ECF No. 9. It is now before the Court
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for review of the final
determination of the Acting Commissioner (Commissioner) of
the Social Security Administration denying Plaintiff's
application for a period of disability and Disability
Insurance Benefits (DIB) pursuant to Title II of the Social
Security Act and Plaintiff's application for Supplemental
Security Income (SSI) pursuant to Title XVI of the Act.
See ECF No. 1. After careful consideration of the
record, the decision of the Commissioner is affirmed.
26, 2013, Plaintiff Kelly Lynn Crisci filed a Title II
application for a period of disability and disability
insurance benefits and a Title XVI application for
supplemental security income. Tr. 202-10, 218. Plaintiff alleged
disability beginning June 1, 2012, due to back pain, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), anxiety, and
depression. Tr. 84, 108, 120, 218-19. The claims were
initially denied on November 12, 2013, and again on
reconsideration January 21, 2014. Tr. 104-05, 108-19.
Plaintiff requested a hearing, which was held on January 19,
2016, in Jacksonville, Florida, before Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) Teresa J. McGarry. Tr. 43-78. Plaintiff was
represented by attorney Amy Kimble. Plaintiff appeared in
person and testified, as did impartial vocational expert
issued a decision on February 10, 2016, finding that
Plaintiff has not been under a disability as defined in the
Social Security Act. Tr. 23-36. The ALJ made the following
1. The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through September 30, 2017. Tr. 25.
2. The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 1, 2012, the alleged onset date. Tr. 25.
3. The claimant has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine; chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and anxiety/depression.
Tr. 25. The ALJ found that Plaintiff's asymptomatic
hypertension was a non-severe impairment because it was
effectively treated with medication and had no more than a
minimal effect on the Plaintiff's functional abilities.
4. The claimant does 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. 26. The ALJ found that based on
Plaintiff's recorded FEV1 and FEV values, coupled with
her height, her COPD fails to meet or medically equal the
listing level impairments of section 3.02 of Appendix 1. Tr.
5. After careful consideration of the entire record, the
Claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform
light work involving lifting/carrying 10 pounds frequently
and 20 pounds occasionally; sitting, standing, and walking
each for up to 8 hours in the workday; never climbing ropes,
ladders, or scaffolds; and limited to occasional climbing of
ramps/stairs, and occasional balancing, bending, stooping,
squatting, crouching, crawling, and kneeling. Claimant can
use her upper extremities in all ways. She can see, hear, and
talk. She must avoid heights, extreme temperatures, humidity,
dust, odors, chemicals, and fumes. She should not work
directly with the public in a customer service or public
relations way. The claimant can be in the vicinity of
co-workers, but not work in tandem with them. Tr. 28.
6. The claimant is unable to perform any past relevant work
as a retail store manager or cashier checker. Tr. 34.
7. The claimant was 48 years old, which is defined as a
younger individual age 18-49, on the alleged disability onset
date. The claimant subsequently changed age category to
closely approaching advanced age. Tr. 34.
8. The claimant has a limited education and is able to
communicate in English. Tr. 34.
9. Transferability of job skills is not material to the
determination of disability because using the
Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding
that the claimant is “not disabled, ” the
claimant has transferable job skills. Tr. 34.
10. Considering the claimant's age, education, work
experience, and residual functional capacity, there are jobs
that exist in significant numbers in the national economy
that the claimant can perform. Tr. 34. The ALJ found that
Plaintiff can perform the job of marker, DOT #209.587-034,
light, unskilled, SVP of 2, with 319, 657 jobs in the
national economy; sub assembler, DOT #729.684-054, light,
unskilled, SVP of 2, with 9, 312 jobs in the national
economy; and mail clerk, DOT #209.687-026, light, unskilled,
SVP of 2, with 2, 489 jobs in the national
economy. Tr. 36.
11. The claimant has not been under a disability as defined
in the Social Security Act from June 1, 2012, through the
date of the decision, February 10, 2016.
on these findings, the ALJ found that Plaintiff is not
disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of the Social
Security Act and is not entitled to disability benefits. Tr.
36. The ALJ also found that Plaintiff is not disabled under
section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security act and is thus not
entitled to supplemental security income. Id.
Plaintiff requested review by the Appeals Council, which was
denied on March 8, 2017. Tr. 1-4. Thus, the decision of the
ALJ became the final decision of the Commissioner and is ripe
for review. Accordingly, Plaintiff, represented by counsel,
filed a Complaint for judicial review pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 1383(c)(3) and 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). ECF No. 1.
Legal Standards Guiding Judicial Review
Court must determine whether the Commissioner's decision
is supported by substantial evidence in the record and
premised upon correct legal principles. 42 U.S.C. §
405(g); Chester v. Bowen, 792 F.2d 129, 131 (11th
Cir. 1986). “Substantial evidence is more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance. It is such relevant
evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.” Bloodsworth v. Heckler,
703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983) (citations omitted);
accord Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th
Cir. 2005). “The Commissioner's factual findings
are conclusive if supported by substantial
evidence.” Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d
1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002) (citations omitted). The Court
may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence, or
substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner,
Bloodsworth, 703 F.2d at 1239, although the Court
must scrutinize the entire record, consider evidence
detracting from the evidence on which the Commissioner
relied, and determine the reasonableness of the factual
findings. Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837
(11th Cir. 1992); Parker v. Bowen, 793 F.2d 1177,
1180 (11th Cir. 1986). Review is deferential, but the
reviewing court conducts what has been referred to as
“an independent review of the record.” Flynn
v. Heckler, 768 F.2d 1273, 1273 (11th Cir. 1985).
disability is defined as a physical or mental impairment of
such severity that the claimant is not only unable to do past
relevant work, “but cannot, considering his age,
education, and work experience, engage in any other kind of
substantial gainful work which exists in the national
economy.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)(A). A disability
is an “inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months.” 42 U.S.C. §
423(d)(1)(A); see 20 C.F.R. § 404.1509
(duration requirement). Both the “impairment” and
the “inability” must be expected to last not less
than 12 months. Barnhart v. Walton, 535 U.S. 212
(2002). In addition, an individual is entitled to disability
insurance benefits if he or she is under a disability prior
to the expiration of her insured status. See 42
U.S.C. § 423(a)(1)(A); Moore, 405 F.3d at 1211;
Torres v. Sec'y of Health & Human Servs.,
845 F.2d 1136, 1137-38 (1st Cir. 1988); Cruz Rivera v.
Sec'y of Health & Human Servs., 818 F.2d 96, 97
(1st Cir. 1986).
to 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(v),  the Commissioner