United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Fort Myers Division
OPINION AND ORDER
McCOY UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the Court is Plaintiff Denise Michelle Jenkin's
Complaint, filed on April 19, 2018. (Doc. 1). Plaintiff seeks
judicial review of the final decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
denying her claim for disability insurance benefits and
supplemental security income benefits. The Commissioner filed
the Transcript of the proceedings (hereinafter referred to as
“Tr.” followed by the appropriate page number),
and the parties filed a joint legal memorandum detailing
their respective 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).
December 14, 2015, Plaintiff filed an application for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits as
well as an application for supplemental security income
benefits. (Tr. at 103, 104, 208-221). Plaintiff asserted an
onset date of January 1, 2014. (Id. at 208).
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially on March
1, 2016, and on reconsideration on May 25, 2016.
(Id. at 141, 142). Administrative Law Judge Eric
Anschuetz (“ALJ”) held a hearing on April 5,
2017. (Id. at 48-77). The ALJ issued an unfavorable
decision on June 1, 2017. (Id. at 29-41). The ALJ
found Plaintiff not to be under a disability from January 1,
2014, through the date of the decision. (Id. at 30).
February 22, 2018, 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
April 19, 2018. This case is ripe for review. The parties
consented to proceed before a United States Magistrate Judge
for all proceedings. (See Doc. 19).
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 December 31, 2017. (Tr. at 31). At step one of the
sequential evaluation, the ALJ found that Plaintiff had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 1,
2014, the alleged onset date. (Id.). At step two,
the ALJ determined that Plaintiff suffered from the following
severe impairments: “cervical degenerative disc disease
C 5-8, panic disorder with agoraphobia as of April 1, 2016,
asthma and obesity (20 [C.F.R. §§] 404.1520(c) and
416.920(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, 404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, and 416.926).
(Id. at 32).
four, the ALJ determined the following as to Plaintiff's
residual functional capacity (“RFC”):
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that
the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 [C.F.R. §§] 404.1567(b)
and 416.967 (b) except the claimant can lift and carry 20
pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently. The claimant
can stand and/or walk for a total of six hours during an
eight-hour workday. The claimant can sit for six hours in an
eight-hour workday. The claimant can occasionally climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, but her ability to climb ramps
and stairs is frequently. Her ability to balance is unlimited
and she can frequently kneel, crouch, and crawl; but only
occasionally stoop. She must avoid concentrated exposure to
dusts, odors, fumes, and gases; as well as extremes of heat
and cold. She can have occasional interaction with
supervisors, coworkers, and the public. The ...