United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
OPINION AND ORDER
MCCOY, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Kenya McCullough's Complaint,
filed on May 9, 2017. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks judicial
review of the final decision of the Commissioner of the
Social Security Administration (“SSA”) denying
her claim for a period of disability and disability insurance
benefits. The Commissioner filed the Transcript of the
proceedings (hereinafter referred to as “Tr.”
followed by the appropriate page number), and the parties
filed their joint legal memorandum in support of their
positions. For the reasons set out herein, the decision of
the Commissioner is REVERSED and REMANDED
pursuant to § 205(g) of the Social Security Act, 42
U.S.C. § 405(g).
Social Security Act Eligibility, the ALJ Decision, and
Standard of Review
defines disability as the inability to do any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment that can be expected to result
in death or that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of not less than twelve months. 42 U.S.C.
§§ 416(i), 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1505, 416.905. The impairment must be
severe, making the claimant unable to do her previous work or
any other substantial gainful activity that exists in the
national economy. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2),
1382c(a)(3); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505 - 404.1511,
416.905 - 416.911. Plaintiff bears the burden of persuasion
through step four, while the burden shifts to the
Commissioner at step five. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482
U.S. 137, 146 n.5 (1987).
February 4, 2014, Plaintiff filed an application for
disability insurance benefits. (Tr. at 85, 171-72). Plaintiff
asserted an onset date of January 1, 2009. (Id. at
171). Plaintiff's application was denied initially on
April 3, 2014 and on reconsideration on June 25, 2014.
(Id. at 85, 94). Administrative Law Judge Daniel A.
Piloseno, Jr. (“ALJ”) held a hearing on March 30,
2016. (Id. at 54-77). The ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision on April 29, 2016. (Id. at 39-48). The ALJ
found Plaintiff not to be under a disability from January 1,
2009, the alleged onset date, through March 31, 2014, the
date last insured. (Id. at 48).
March 8, 2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's
request for review. (Id. at 1-6). Plaintiff filed a
Complaint (Doc. 1) in the United States District Court on May
9, 2017. This case is ripe for review. The parties consented
to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge for all
proceedings. (See Doc. 15).
Summary of the ALJ's Decision
must follow a five-step sequential evaluation process to
determine if a claimant has proven that she is disabled.
Packer v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 542 Fed.Appx.
890, 891 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing Jones v. Apfel,
190 F.3d 1224, 1228 (11th Cir. 1999)). An ALJ must
determine whether the claimant: (1) is performing substantial
gainful activity; (2) has a severe impairment; (3) has a
severe impairment that meets or equals an impairment
specifically listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1; (4) can perform her past relevant work; and (5)
can perform other work of the sort found in the national
economy. Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232,
1237-40 (11th Cir. 2004). The claimant has the burden of
proof through step four and then the burden shifts to the
Commissioner at step five. Hines-Sharp v. Comm'r of
Soc. Sec., 511 Fed.Appx. 913, 915 n.2 (11th Cir. 2013).
found that Plaintiff met the insured status requirements
through March 31, 2014. (Tr. at 41). At step one of the
sequential evaluation, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity from her alleged
onset date of January 1, 2009 through her date last insured
of March 31, 2014. (Id.). At step two, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff suffered from the following severe
impairments: “morbid obesity, insulin-dependent
diabetes mellitus (IDDM), levocurvature of the lumbar spine,
facet arthropathy, a history of deep venous thrombosis (DVT)
of the left lower extremity, and hypothyroidism (20 CPR
404.1520(c)).” (Id.). At step three, the ALJ
determined 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. pt.
404, subpt. P, app. 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(d),
404.1525, and 404.1526). (Id. at 42).
four, the ALJ found the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that, through the date last insured, the claimant retained
the residual functional capacity to lift and/or carry 20
pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently; stand and/or
walk for less than 2 hours per workday, but no more than 30
minutes at a time, and sit for up to 8 hours per workday, but
no more than 2 hours at a time; occasionally climbing stairs
and ramps, but no climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolding;
occasionally balancing, stopping, crouching, kneeling, or
crawling; and likely missing work, or leaving work before
completing 8 hours approximately 6 days per year.
determined that through the date last insured, Plaintiff was
capable of performing her past relevant work as an
administrative assistant. (Id. at 46). In the
alternative, the ALJ made findings for step five of the
sequential evaluation. (Id. at 47). The ALJ
considered Plaintiff's age, education, work experience,
and residual functional capacity, and found that there were
jobs that existed in significant numbers in the national
economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Id.). The ALJ
noted that the vocational expert identified the following
representative occupations that Plaintiff was able to
perform: (1) a charge account clerk, DOT # 205.367-010,
sedentary, unskilled, SVP2; (2) order clerk, DOT #
209.567-014, sedentary, unskilled, SVP 2; and (3)
surveillance monitor, DOT # 379.367-010, sedentary,