United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Patricia Bradley-Bell seeks judicial review of a decision by
the Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying
her claim for supplemental security income (SSI) and
disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the Social Security
Act, 42 U.S.C. Section 405(g). After reviewing the record,
including a transcript of the proceedings before the
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ), the administrative record,
and the pleadings and joint memorandum submitted by the
parties, the Commissioner's decision is
REMANDED for further consideration
consistent with this order.
Bradley-Bell protectively filed a Title II application for a
period of disability, DIB, and protectively filed a Title XVI
application for SSI on December 29, 2014. (Tr. 267-281). In
both applications, Ms. Bradley-Bell alleged disability
beginning November 1, 2014. Id. The claims were
denied at both the initial and reconsideration levels, and
Ms. Bradley-Bell timely requested a hearing before an ALJ,
which was held on July 31, 2017. (Tr. 156, 33-57). The ALJ
issued an unfavorable decision to Ms. Bradley-Bell on October
6, 2017. (Tr. 33-57). Ms. Bradley-Bell then requested review
from the Appeals Council, which was denied. (Tr. 1-6). Ms.
Bradley-Bell timely filed a complaint with this court. (Doc.
1). This case is now ripe for review under 42 U.S.C. §
NATURE OF DISABILITY CLAIM
Statement of the Case
Bradley-Bell was born in November 1965 and completed high
school. (Tr. 21). She also attained post-secondary education
and earned a bachelor's degree. (Tr. 37). Ms.
Bradley-Bell has past relevant work as a data entry clerk and
a pastoral assistant. (Tr. 21). She alleged disability
beginning November 1, 2014 due to back injury; arthritis;
chronic pain from surgery and mobility problems; pain,
numbness and swelling in her legs and hands; and high blood
pressure. (Tr. 41-46, 293).
Summary of ALJ's Decision
must follow five steps when evaluating a claim for
disability. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a),
416.920(a). First, if a claimant is engaged in substantial
gainful activity,  she is not disabled. §§
404.1520(b), 416.920(b). Second, if a claimant does not have
an impairment or combination of impairments that
significantly limit her physical or mental ability to perform
basic work activities, then she does not have a severe
impairment and is not disabled. §§ 404.1520(c),
416.920(c); see McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026,
1031 (11th Cir. 1986) (stating that step two acts as a filter
and “allows only claims based on the most trivial
impairments to be rejected”). Third, if a
claimant's impairments fail to meet or equal an
impairment included in the Listings, she is not disabled.
§§ 404.1520(d), 416.920(d); 20 C.F.R. pt. 404,
subpt. P, app. 1. 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 the claimant's
residual functional capacity (RFC).Fifth, if a claimant's
impairments (considering her RFC, age, education, and past
work) do not prevent her from performing other work that
exists in the national economy, she is not disabled.
§§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g).
the ALJ determined Ms. Bradley-Bell has not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since her alleged disability
onset date. (Tr. 16). The ALJ then concluded Ms. Bradley-Bell
has severe impairments, including degenerative disk disease
or degenerative joint disease of the lumbar spine, and
obesity. Id. Despite these findings, the ALJ found
Ms. Bradley-Bell's impairments or combination of
impairments failed to meet or medically equal the severity of
an impairment included in the Listings. Id.
then determined Ms. Bradley-Bell had the RFC to perform
sedentary work, within the following limitations:
[Ms. Bradley-Bell] is able to lift ten pounds occasionally;
stand or walk for approximately two hours and sit for
approximately six hours in an eight-hour workday with normal
breaks. She can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. She
can occasionally climb ramps or stairs, balance, stoop,
crouch, kneel, or crawl. She should avoid concentrated
exposure to hazards.
(Tr. 16-17). Based on Ms. Bradley-Bell's RFC and the
testimony of a vocational expert (VE), the ALJ found she is
able to perform her past relevant work, and she acquired work
skills from past relevant work that are transferable to other
occupations with jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 21). Therefore, the ALJ found Ms.
Bradley-Bell not disabled. (Tr. 22-23).