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Eubanks-Carswell v. Saul

United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division

August 2, 2019

ARIELLE EUBANKS-CARSWELL, Plaintiff,
v.
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner, Social Security Administration, [1] Defendant.

          ORDER

          AMANDA ARNOLD SANSONE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Arielle Eubanks-Carswell 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), administrative record, pleadings, and joint memorandum the parties submitted, the Commissioner's decision is REMANDED for further consideration consistent with this order.

         I. PROCEDURAL HISTORY

         Ms. Eubanks-Carswell applied for SSI and DIB for a disability she claims began on November 13, 2013. (Tr. 237-46).[2] Disability examiners denied Ms. Eubanks-Carswell's applications initially and after reconsideration. (Tr. 104-63). Ms. Eubanks-Carswell then requested a hearing before an ALJ, who found Ms. Eubanks-Carswell not disabled. (Tr. 27-37, 188).

         The Appeals Council denied Ms. Eubanks-Carswell's request for review of the ALJ's decision, and the ALJ's decision became the final decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3). Ms. Eubanks-Carswell now seeks review of the Commissioner's final decision. (Doc. 1).

         II. NATURE OF DISABILITY CLAIM

         A. Background

         Ms. Eubanks-Carswell was twenty-six years old when she submitted her SSI and DIB applications, and she was twenty-nine years old when the ALJ held the hearing. (Tr. 48, 237). Ms. Eubanks-Carswell has a high school education and some technical training as a phlebotomy technician. (Tr. 57). She has no past relevant work. (Tr. 91). Ms. Eubanks-Carswell claimed disability because of “bipolar, anxiety, sciatic nerve damage, vertigo, vision, [and] colon disease.” (Tr. 104).

         B. Summary of the ALJ's Decision

         The ALJ must follow five steps when evaluating a claim for disability.[3]20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a). First, if a claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity, [4] she is not disabled. §§ 404.1520(b), 416.920(b). Second, if a claimant has no impairment or combination of impairments that significantly limit her physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities, then she has no 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 performing 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”).[5] 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, then she is not disabled. §§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g).

         The ALJ here determined Ms. Eubanks-Carswell engaged in no substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date. (Tr. 29). The ALJ found Ms. Eubanks-Carswell has the following severe impairments: “status post (s/p) right shoulder arthroscopic repair, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” (Tr. 30) (citations omitted). Nonetheless, the ALJ found Ms. Eubanks-Carswell's impairments or combination of impairments fail to meet or medically equal the severity of an impairment included in the Listings. (Id.).

         The ALJ then found Ms. Eubanks-Carswell has the RFC to perform light work with the following limitations:

[S]he is limited to frequent contact with the general public, supervisors and co-workers. She is limited to routine, repetitive tasks, and no semi-skilled or skilled work.

(Tr. 32). Based on these findings, the ALJ determined Ms. Eubanks-Carswell could perform jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy, specifically a housekeeping cleaner, fast-food worker, and advertising-material distributor. (Tr. 37). The ...


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