United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mae Robin Porter seeks judicial review of a decision by the
Commissioner of Social Security (the
“Commissioner”) denying her claim for Title II
Disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), Widow's Insurance Benefits and Title
XVI Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”). After
reviewing the record, including a transcript of the
proceedings before the Administrative Law Judge (the
“ALJ”), the administrative record, and the
pleadings and joint memorandum submitted by the parties, the
undersigned RECOMMENDS that the
Commissioner's decision be AFFIRMED.
Porter applied for disability benefits alleging disability
beginning May 1, 2010. (Tr. 21, 247, 252, 257). Disability
examiners denied Ms. Porter's application at the initial
and reconsideration levels. (Tr. 162-73, 177-194). The ALJ
held a hearing and, on May 17, 2016, the ALJ issued a
decision finding Ms. Porter not disabled. (Tr. 18-42). The
Appeals Council denied Ms. Porter's request for a review
of the ALJ's decision, making the ALJ's decision the
final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 2-6). Ms. Porter now
seeks review of the Commissioner's final decision in this
court. (Doc. 1).
NATURE OF DISABILITY CLAIM
Statement of the Case
Porter was fifty-two years old on the alleged disability
onset date and fifty-eight years old at the time of the
hearing before the ALJ. (Tr. 35). Ms. Porter has a high
school education and past relevant work experience as a home
health aide and a secretary. (Tr. 34-35, 288). Ms. Porter
alleges disability due to hemeochromatosis, Hepatitis C,
hyperthyroidism, bipolar disorder, Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder, panic attacks, stress disorder, polysubstance
dependence (in remission), and avoidant personality disorder.
Summary of the ALJ's Decision
must follow five steps in evaluating a claim of disability.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a).
First, if a claimant is working at a substantial gainful
activity, she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(b), 416.920(b). Second, if a claimant does not have
any impairment or combination of impairments that
significantly limit her physical or mental ability to do
basic work activities, then she does not have a severe
impairment and is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(c), 416.920(c); see also Jamison v. Bowen,
814 F.2d 585, 588 (11th Cir. 1987). Third, if a
claimant's impairments meet or equal an impairment listed
in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (“the
Listings”), she is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(d), 416.920(d). Fourth, if a claimant's
impairments do not prevent her from doing past relevant work,
she is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e),
416.920(e). At this fourth step, the ALJ determines a
claimant's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”). Fifth, if a claimant's impairments
(considering her RFC, age, education, and past work) prevent
her from doing her past relevant work or other work that
exists in the national economy, then she is disabled. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g).
the ALJ determined Ms. Porter had not engaged in substantial
gainful activity since the alleged disability onset date.
(Tr. 24). The ALJ then concluded that Ms. Porter had the
following severe impairments: Hepatitis C infection,
hemochromatosis, thyroid disorder, bipolar disorder, panic
disorder, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,
polysubstance abuse in remission and social phobia.
(Id.). Despite these findings, the ALJ found that
Ms. Porter's impairments or combination of impairments
did not meet or medically equal the severity of the Listings.
then found Ms. Porter had the RFC to perform medium work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(c) and 416.967(c),
with the following limitations:
[Ms. Porter] cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; can
frequently climb stairs and ramps, balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl; [Ms. Porter] can understand and remember
instructions, maintain concentration, pace and persistence,
relate to other individuals, and adapt to work settings
sufficiently to perform simple, repetitive work duties; [Ms.
Porter] can only occasionally interact with other individuals
including known clients and customers, coworkers,
supervisors, and unknown members of the general public; [Ms.
Porter] cannot perform fast-paced work, and cannot tolerate
sudden changes to work setting or routine.
(Tr. 27). Based on this findings, the ALJ determined that Ms.
Porter could not perform any of her past relevant work. (Tr.
34). However, the ALJ further determined that Ms. Porter
could perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the
national economy, specifically as a cleaner, kitchen helper,
and grounds keeper. (Tr. 35-36). Therefore, the ALJ concluded
that Ms. Porter was not disabled. (Tr. 36).