United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
C. IRICK UNITES STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Cline (Claimant) appeals the Commissioner of Social
Security's final decision denying her application for
disability benefits. Doc. 1. Claimant raises a single
argument challenging the Commissioner's final decision
and, based on that argument, requests that the matter be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Doc. 18 at
8-11, 16. The Commissioner argues that the ALJ committed no
legal error and that his decision is supported by substantial
evidence and should be affirmed. Id. at 11-16. The
undersigned RECOMMENDS that the
Commissioner's final decision be
REVERSED and REMANDED for
case stems from Claimant's application for disability
insurance benefits, in which she alleged a disability onset
date of January 1, 2010. R. 154-55. Claimant's
application was denied on initial review and on
reconsideration. The matter then proceeded before an ALJ. On
August 31, 2015, the ALJ held a hearing, at which Claimant
and her representative appeared. R. 28-59. The ALJ entered
his decision on June 2, 2016, and the Appeals Council denied
review on June 5, 2017. R. 1-3, 17-23. This appeal followed.
THE ALJ'S DECISION.
found that Claimant suffered from the following severe
impairments: osteoarthritis of both knees; degenerative disc
disease of the lumbar spine; and fibromyalgia. R. 19. The ALJ
also found that Claimant suffered from a non-severe
impairment of anxiety disorder. R. 19-20. The ALJ, however,
determined that none of the foregoing impairments,
individually or in combination, met or medically equaled any
listed impairment. R. 20.
next found that Claimant had the residual functional capacity
(RFC) to perform a full range of sedentary work as defined in
20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a) with no additional limitations.
Id. In light of this RFC, the ALJ found that
Claimant was able to perform her past relevant work as a
customer complaint clerk and an employment and claims aide.
R. 22-23. Thus, the ALJ concluded that Claimant was
not disabled between her alleged disability onset date,
January 1, 2010, through her date last insured, June 30,
2014. R. 23.
STANDARD OF REVIEW.
scope of the Court's review is limited to determining
whether the Commissioner applied the correct legal standards,
and whether the Commissioner's findings of fact are
supported by substantial evidence. Winschel v. Comm'r
of Soc. Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011). The
Commissioner's findings of fact are conclusive if they
are supported by substantial evidence, 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), which is defined as “more than a scintilla and
is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept
as adequate to support a conclusion.” Lewis v.
Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir. 1997). The
Court must view the evidence as a whole, taking into account
evidence favorable as well as unfavorable to the
Commissioner's decision, when determining whether the
decision is supported by substantial evidence. Foote v.
Chater, 67 F.3d 1553, 1560 (11th Cir. 1995). The Court
may not reweigh evidence or substitute its judgment for that
of the Commissioner, and, even if the evidence preponderates
against the Commissioner's decision, the reviewing court
must affirm it if the decision is supported by substantial
evidence. Bloodsworth v. Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233,
1239 (11th Cir. 1983).
argues that the ALJ relied solely on objective medical
evidence in rendering his credibility determination, and,
thus, failed to apply the correct legal standards in
rejecting Claimant's testimony. Doc. 18 at 9-11 (citing
SSR 16-3p, 2016 WL 1237954 (March 24, 2016)). Thus, Claimant
requests that the Commissioner's final decision be
reversed and remanded for further proceedings. Id.
Commissioner argues that the ALJ did not rely solely on
objective medical evidence in rejecting Claimant's
testimony, but, instead, relied on “objective medical
evidence, medical opinions, [and] daily activities” in
rejecting Claimant's testimony concerning the intensity,
persistence and limiting effects of her impairments.
Id. at 12-13. Thus, the Commissioner argues that the
ALJ applied the correct legal standard in evaluating
Claimant's credibility, and that the reasons he provided
in support of his credibility determination support that
determination and are supported by substantial evidence.
Id. at 14-15.
claimant may establish “disability through his own
testimony of pain or other subjective symptoms.”
Dyer v. Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir.
2005). A claimant seeking to establish disability through his
or her own testimony must show:
(1) evidence of an underlying medical condition; and (2)
either (a) objective medical evidence confirming the severity
of the alleged pain; or (b) that the objectively determined
medical condition can ...