United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Jacksonville Division
OPINION AND ORDER 
R. Klindt United States Magistrate Judge.
Lamar Holmes (“Plaintiff”) is appealing the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration's
(“SSA('s)”) final decision denying his claim
for disability income benefits (“DIB”).
Plaintiff's alleged inability to work is the result of
asthma, atrial fibrillation, diverticulitis, Graves'
disease, bulging discs in his back, and sleep apnea.
See Transcript of Administrative Proceedings (Doc.
No. 11; “Tr.” or “administrative
transcript”), filed August 22, 2018, at 80-81, 88, 202.
Plaintiff filed an application for DIB on March 10,
2015, alleging a disability onset date of
February 1, 2011. Tr. at 184. The application was denied
initially, Tr. at 80-85, 86, 87, 102-04, and upon
reconsideration, Tr. at 88-95, 97, 98, 106-10.
April 24, 2017, an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) held a hearing, during which he heard
testimony from Plaintiff, who was represented by counsel, and
a vocational expert (“VE”). Tr. at 29-46.
Plaintiff was forty-eight years old at the time of the
hearing. See, e.g., Tr. at 80 (indicating date of
birth). The ALJ issued a Decision on July 5, 2017, finding
Plaintiff not disabled through the date last insured. Tr. at
Plaintiff requested review of the Decision by the Appeals
Council. See Tr. at 171, 180-82. The Appeals Council
received additional evidence in the form of a brief authored
by Plaintiff's counsel. Tr. at 4, 5; see Tr. at
173-80, 182 (brief). On April 17, 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 June 21, 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 arguments: 1)
“the ALJ erred in failing to consider all of
[Plaintiff's] impairments in assessing his [residual
functional capacity (‘RFC')], ” specifically
his major depressive disorder; 2) “the ALJ failed to
properly assess Plaintiff's [subjective] symptoms”;
and 3) “the ALJ's RFC assessment is not supported
by competent substantial evidence.” Plaintiff's
Memorandum of Law in Support of Allegations of the Complaint
(Doc. No. 17; “Pl.'s Mem.”), filed November
21, 2018, at 5, 6, 9 (emphasis and capitalization omitted).
On January 25, 2019, Defendant filed a Memorandum in Support
of the Commissioner's Decision (Doc. No. 20;
“Def.'s Mem.”) addressing Plaintiff's
arguments. 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 18-24. At step one, the ALJ determined
that Plaintiff “did not engage in substantial gainful
activity during the period from his alleged onset date of
February 1, 2011 through his date last insured of September
30, 2016.” Tr. at 18 (emphasis and citation omitted).
At step two, the ALJ found that “[t]hrough the date
last insured, [Plaintiff] had the following severe
impairments: asthma, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), atrial
fibrillation status post ablation, Grave[s'] disease, and
a history of left-sided cerebral vascular accident
(CVA).” Tr. at 18 (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 18 (emphasis and
determined that through the date last insured, Plaintiff had
the following RFC:
[Plaintiff could] perform light work as defined in 20 [C.F.R.
§ 404.1567(b), with limitations. [Plaintiff] must be
provided with a sit/stand option and the ability to change
position at least every 30 minutes. [Plaintiff could]
balance, stoop, and climb ramps and stairs no more than
occasionally. [Plaintiff could] never kneel, crouch, crawl,
or climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. [Plaintiff could]
perform overhead reaching tasks no more than occasionally and
[could] handle and finger bilaterally no more than
frequently. [Plaintiff] must not have concentrated exposure
to extreme heat or to respiratory irritants such as dust,
fumes, or gases, and must not work around moving mechanical
parts or at unprotected heights. [Plaintiff] require[d] a
handheld assistive device to reach the workstation but d[id]
not require it at the workstation.
Tr. at 19 (emphasis omitted).
four, the ALJ found that “[t]hrough the date last
insured, [Plaintiff] was unable to perform any past relevant
work.” Tr. at 22 (emphasis and citation omitted). At
step five, after considering Plaintiff's age (“47
years old . . . on the date last insured”), education
(“a limited education”), work experience, and
RFC, the ALJ 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 22-23
(emphasis and citation omitted), such as “Warehouse
Checker”; “Assembler, Small Products”; and
“Inspector and Hand Packer, ” Tr. at 23. The ALJ
concluded that Plaintiff “was not under a disability .
. . at any time from February 1, 2011, the alleged onset
date, through September 30, 2016, the date last
insured.” Tr. at 24 (emphasis and citation omitted).