United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
R. KLINDT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Testoni (“Plaintiff”) is appealing the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration's
(“SSA('s)”) final decision denying her claim
for disability income benefits (“DIB”).
Plaintiff's alleged inability to work is the result of
spinal stenosis, bilateral carpal tunnel, sciatica, glaucoma,
cataracts, and bunions. See Transcript of
Administrative Proceedings (Doc. No. 10; “Tr.” or
“administrative transcript”), filed September 10,
2018, at 321, 336, 492. Plaintiff filed an application for
DIB on April 6, 2015,  alleging a disability onset date of July
1, 2011. Tr. at 441. The application was denied initially,
Tr. at 321-33, 334, 335; and upon reconsideration, Tr. at
336-47, 348, 349.
August 9, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing, during which she heard
testimony from Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, and
a vocational expert (“VE”). Tr. at 43-73.
Plaintiff was fifty years old at the time of the hearing. Tr.
at 47. The ALJ issued a Decision on September 12, 2017,
finding Plaintiff not disabled through the date last insured.
Tr. at 22-37.
November 6, 2017, Plaintiff requested review of the Decision
by the Appeals Council. See Tr. at 429, 432-39. The
Appeals Council received additional evidence in the form of a
brief authored by Plaintiff's counsel. Tr. at 5-6;
see Tr. at 432-39 (brief). On May 15, 2018, the
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review,
Tr. at 1-4, thereby making the ALJ's Decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. On July 5, 2018, Plaintiff
commenced this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) by timely
filing a Complaint (Doc. No. 1), seeking judicial review of
the Commissioner's final decision.
appeal, Plaintiff makes the following argument: “The
Decision is not supported by substantial evidence because
[certain] limitations are not included in the hypothetical to
the VE.” Memorandum in Support of Complaint (Doc. No.
14; “Pl.'s Mem.”), filed November 8, 2018, at
6 (emphasis and capitalization omitted); see
Pl.'s Mem. at 6-9. Specifically, Plaintiff contends that
“[i]n her hypothetical to the VE the ALJ never stated
that . . . [P]laintiff had moderate limitations with regard
to concentration, persistence or pace.” Id. at
8. On January 25, 2019, Defendant filed a Memorandum in
Support of the Commissioner's Decision (Doc. No. 17;
“Def.'s Mem.”) addressing Plaintiff's
argument. After a thorough review of the entire record and
consideration of the parties' respective memoranda, the
undersigned finds that the Commissioner's final decision
is due to be affirmed.
The ALJ's Decision
determining whether an individual is disabled,  an ALJ must
follow the five-step sequential inquiry set forth in the Code
of Federal Regulations (“Regulations”),
determining as appropriate whether the claimant (1) is
currently employed or engaging in substantial gainful
activity; (2) has a severe impairment; (3) has an impairment
or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals
one listed in the Regulations; (4) can perform past relevant
work; and (5) retains the ability to perform any work in the
national economy. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920;
see also Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237
(11th Cir. 2004). The claimant bears the burden of persuasion
through step four, and at step five, the burden shifts to the
Commissioner. Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146
the ALJ followed the five-step sequential inquiry.
See Tr. at 24-36. At step one, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff “did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from her alleged onset date of
July 1, 2011 through her date last insured of September 30,
2016.” Tr. at 24 (emphasis and citation omitted). At
step two, the ALJ found that “[t]hrough the date last
insured, [Plaintiff] had the following severe impairments:
degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, sciatica, carpal
tunnel syndrome, glaucoma, and cataracts.” Tr. at 25
(emphasis and citation omitted). At step three, the ALJ
ascertained that “[t]hrough the date last insured,
[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.] Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1.” Tr. at 25 (emphasis and citation omitted).
determined that through the date last insured, Plaintiff had
the following residual functional capacity
[Plaintiff could] perform light work as defined in 20 [C.F.R.
§ 404.1567(b), except [Plaintiff could] only
occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, and reach
overhead. She [was] limited to frequent handling and
fingering and [was required to] avoid climbing and exposure
to workplace hazards. She require[d] the ability to alternate
between sitting and standing hourly, with changes in position
occurring at a duty station so work duties [could] be
performed from either position. [Plaintiff was] limited to
simple, routine tasks.
Tr. at 27 (emphasis omitted).
four, the ALJ relied on the testimony of the VE and found
that “[t]hrough the date last insured, [Plaintiff] was
unable to perform any past relevant work.” Tr. at 35
(emphasis and citation omitted). At step five, after
considering Plaintiff's age (“49 years old . . . on
the date last insured”), education (“at least a
high school education”), work experience, and RFC, the
ALJ again relied on the testimony of the VE and found that
“[t]hrough the date last insured, . . . there were jobs
that existed in significant numbers in the national economy
that [Plaintiff] could have performed, ” Tr. at 35
(emphasis and citation omitted), such as “Assembler,
Small Products”; Warehouse Checker”; and
“Inspector and Packer, ” Tr. at 36. The ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff “was not under a disability .
. . at any time from July 1, 2011, the alleged onset date,
through September 30, 2016, the date last insured.” Tr.
at 37 (emphasis and citation omitted).