United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
B. SMITH UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this action pursuant to the Social Security Ac t
(“Act”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§
405(g) and 1383(c)(3), to obtain judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (the “Commissioner”) denying her
claim for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”)
under the Act. Upon review, I respectfully recommend that the
Commissioner's final decision be AFFIRMED.
was born on January 1, 1996 (Tr. 57). On March 7, 2008, she
was found to be disabled and entitled to SSI benefits as of
October 26, 2007 (Tr. 57, 161-168). After Plaintiff turned
eighteen years old, the Commissioner reconsidered
Plaintiff's eligibility for benefits under the rules for
determining disability in adults and determined that, as of
March 24, 2015, she was no longer disabled (Tr. 59-65). This
determination was upheld on reconsideration (Tr. 86-91) and
Plaintiff requested and received a hearing before an
administrative law judge (the “ALJ”) (Tr. 31-56,
106-110). On March 8, 2017, the ALJ found Plaintiff was not
disabled and issued his unfavorable decision (Tr. 12-30).
Plaintiff requested Appeals Council review of the hearing
decision (Tr. 160) and on October 18, 2017, the Appeals
Council denied the request (Tr. 1-6), making the ALJ's
March 8, 2017 decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. Plaintiff brings this action after exhausting
her available administrative remedies (Doc. 1). This dispute
has been fully briefed, and was referred to me for a report
ALJ 's Decision
determining whether an individual is disabled, the ALJ must
follow the five-step sequential evaluation process published
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 to prove that other jobs
exist in the national economy that the claimant can perform.
Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n. 5 (1987);
Phillips, 357 F.3d at 1241 n.10.
case the ALJ performed the required sequential analysis.
Usually, the first step is to apply the rule used for
individuals who are engaging in substantial gainful activity
(20 CFR 416.920(b)), but this step is not used for
redetermining disability at age eighteen (20 CFR 416.987(b))
(Tr. 16). The ALJ recognized that Plaintiff attained age
eighteen on December 31, 2013, and was eligible for SSI
benefits as a child for the month preceding the month in
which she turned eighteen. Plaintiff was notified that she
was found no longer disabled as of March 24, 2015, based on a
redetermination of disability under the rules for adults who
file new applications (Id.).
two, the ALJ determined that since March 24, 2015, Plaintiff
has had the following severe impairments: hearing loss,
attention deficient hyperactivity disorder, borderline
intellectual functioning, and a learning disorder (Tr. 17).
At step three, the ALJ found that since that date, Plaintiff
has not had 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.
18-20). Next, the ALJ decided that, since March 24, 2015,
Plaintiff has had the residual functional capacity to perform
a full range of work at all exertional levels. The claimant
is limited to work environments that have no more than
moderate noise level. Mentally, she is limited to perform
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks but not at a production
rate pace (e.g. assembly line work). She is limited to simple
work related decisions.
four, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff had no past relevant
work (Tr. 24).Based on the testimony of a vocational
expert, the ALJ concluded at step five that considering
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, there are jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that she can perform (Tr.
24-25). As a result, the ALJ found that Plaintiff's
disability ended on March 24, 2015, and she has not become
disabled again since that date (Tr. 25).
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 o f the
[Commissioner.]” Id., quoting Bloodsworth
v. Heckler,703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983).
"The district court must view the record as a ...