United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
G. WILSON UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
plaintiff in this case seeks judicial review of the denial of
her claim for supplemental security income payments. Because
the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security is
supported by substantial evidence and the plaintiff has not
identified any reversible error, the decision will be
plaintiff, who was fifty-two years old at the time of the
most recent administrative hearing, and who has a ninth grade
education, has no past relevant work (Tr. 20, 52). She filed
a claim for supplemental security income, alleging that she
became disabled due to back problems, hypertension, acid
reflux and arthritis in her hands (Tr. 107). The claim was
denied initially and upon reconsideration.
plaintiff, at her request, then received a de novo
hearing before an administrative law judge. The law judge
found that the plaintiff had severe impairments of
hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cervical degenerative disc
disease and obesity, but was not disabled (Tr. 135, 142).
Upon the plaintiffs request, the Appeals Council reviewed
that decision, and remanded the matter to the law judge for
further consideration of the plaintiffs maximum residual
functional capacity and to provide a rationale with specific
references to evidence in support of the assessed limitations
remand, the plaintiff received another hearing before the
same law judge. The law judge issued a new decision, finding
that the plaintiff has severe impairments of
"hypertension, hyperlipidemia, cervical spine
degenerative disk disease, lumbar spine degenerative disk
disease with moderate osteoarthritis and osteophyte
formation, and obesity" (Tr. 15). He concluded that the
plaintiff has the following residual functional capacity (Tr.
[The ability] to lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally;
sit for 5 hours at a time, for a total of 6 hours in an
8-hour workday; stand and walk 1 hour each at a time, for a
total of 2 hours each in an 8-hour workday; frequently use
hands for reaching, handling, fingering, feeling, pushing or
pulling; frequently use right f[oo]t and occasionally use
left foot for operation of foot controls; and occasionally
perform all the postural activities, except for never
climbing ladders or scaffolds. She has occasional
environmental limitations, including extremes of temperature,
unprotected heights, operating a motor vehicle and loud
judge found that the plaintiff had no past relevant work (Tr.
20). However, based upon the testimony of a vocational
expert, the law judge determined that, with the plaintiffs
limitations, there were jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy that a person with the
plaintiffs residual functional capacity could perform, such
as a filter assembler (Tr. 20-21 ). The law judge therefore
decided that the plaintiff was not disabled (Tr. 21). The
Appeals Council let this decision of the law judge stand as
the final decision of the Commissioner (Tr. 1).
order to be entitled to supplemental security income, a
claimant must be unable "to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable
physical or mental impairment which ... has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months;' 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(A). A
"physical or mental impairment," under the terms of
the Act, is one "that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. 1382c(a)(3)(D).
determination by the Commissioner that a claimant is not
disabled must be upheld if it is supported by substantial
evidence. 42 U.S.C. 405(g). Substantial evidence is
"such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might
accept as adequate to support a conclusion."
Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S.
389, 401 (1971), quoting Consolidated Edison Co.
v. NLRB, 305 U.S. 197, 229 (1938). Under
the substantial evidence test, "findings of fact made by
administrative agencies ... may be reversed ... only when the
record compels a reversal; the mere fact that the record may
support a contrary conclusion is not enough to justify a
reversal of the administrative findings." Adefemi
v. Ashcroft, 386 F.3d 1022, 1027
(11th Cir. 2004) (en banc),
cert. denied, 544 U.S. 1035 (2005).
moreover, the function of the Commissioner, and not the
courts, to resolve conflicts in the evidence and to assess
the credibility of the witnesses. Grant v.
Richardson, 445 F.2d 656 (5th Cir. 1971).
Similarly, it is the responsibility of the Commissioner to
draw inferences from the evidence, and those inferences are
not to be overturned if they are supported by substantial
evidence. Celebrezze v. O'Brient, 323
F.2d 989, 990 (5th Cir. 1963).
in determining whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence, the court is not to
reweigh the evidence, but is limited to determining whether
the record as a whole contains sufficient evidence to permit
a reasonable mind to conclude that the claimant is not
disabled. However, the court, in its review, must satisfy
itself that the proper legal standards were applied and legal
requirements were met. Lamb v.
Bowen, 847 F.2d 698, 701 (11th Cir.
plaintiff states two broad and vague issues at the beginning
of her memorandum (Doc. 18, p. 2). However, the Scheduling
Order and Memorandum Requirements issued in this case
requires the plaintiff to identify "with particularity
the discrete grounds upon which the administrative decision
is being challenged" (Doc. 16, p. 2). Since the general
issues stated at the outset do not meet that requirement,
they will be disregarded.
issue enumerated at the beginning of the plaintiffs argument
is not much better (Doc. 18, p. 5). Nevertheless, since that
issue was at least developed, it will be
plaintiff argues that, given her "age of 50 years old on
the amended alleged onset date, her limited education, the
lack of past relevant work, and the finding that she could
lift and carry up to 20 pounds occasionally... §201.09
[of the Guidelines for sedentary work] is applicable and
directs a finding of'disabled'" (id.).
The Guidelines, also known as the "grids," are
regulations designed to incorporate vocational factors into
the determination of disability claims. See 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 2; 20 C.F.R. 416.969.
They apply when a claimant's medical condition is severe
enough to prevent her from returning to her former
employment, but may not be severe enough to prevent her from
engaging in other substantial ...