United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
ARNOLD SANSONE, United States Magistrate Judge.
John Gidley seeks judicial review of a decision by the
Commissioner of Social Security (Commissioner) denying his
claim for 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), the
administrative record, the pleadings, the joint memorandum
the parties submitted, and the reply brief from Mr. Gidley,
Commissioner’s decision is REMANDED
for further consideration consistent with this order.
September 8, 2015, Mr. Gidley applied for DIB alleging
disability beginning on August 28, 2015. (Tr. 375–76).
Disability examiners denied Mr. Gidley’s application
initially and after reconsideration. (Tr. 295–303). Mr.
Gidley requested a hearing, and the ALJ held the hearing on
May 15, 2017. (Tr. 35–77, 305–06). The ALJ issued
a decision unfavorable to Mr. Gidley on September 8, 2017.
Gidley requested a review of the decision and submitted
additional evidence. (Tr. 8–11). The Appeals Council
denied Mr. Gidley’s request for review so the
ALJ’s decision is the final decision of the
Commissioner. (Tr. 1–7). Mr. Gidley now seeks review of
the Commissioner’s final decision. (Doc. 1).
NATURE OF DISABILITY CLAIM
Gidley was forty-seven years old when he submitted his DIB
application, and he was forty-nine years old when the ALJ
held the hearing. (Tr. 20, 27). Mr. Gidley has at least a
high school education and past relevant work experience as a
delivery driver and sales attendant. (Tr. 27). Mr. Gidley
claimed disability because of “anxiety disorder with
panic attacks, depression, bipolar and degenerative disc
disease of lumbar spine.” (Tr. 38).
Summary of the ALJ’s Decision
must follow five steps when evaluating a claim for
disability. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a). First, if a
claimant is engaged in substantial gainful activity,
is not disabled. § 404.1520(b). Second, if a claimant
has no impairment or combination of impairments that
significantly limit his physical or mental ability to perform
basic work activities, then he has no severe impairment and
is not disabled. § 404.1520(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, he is not
disabled. § 404.1520(d); 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P,
app. 1. Fourth, if a claimant’s impairments do not
prevent him from performing past relevant work, he is not
disabled. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e). At this fourth step,
the ALJ determines the claimant’s residual functional
capacity (“RFC”).Fifth, if a claimant’s
impairments (considering his RFC, age, education, and past
work) do not prevent him from performing other work that
exists in the national economy, then he is not disabled.
determined Mr. Gidley engaged in no substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date. (Tr. 22). The ALJ
found Mr. Gidley had the following severe impairments:
“degenerative bulging and spondylosis of the lumbar
spine; obesity; history of hyperlipidemia and
gastroesophageal reflux disease; depression/bipolar disorder;
and, anxiety/panic disorder, with history of panic
attacks.” (Id.). Nonetheless, the ALJ found
Mr. Gidley’s impairments or combination of impairments
fail to meet or medically equal the severity of an impairment
included in the Listings. (Id.).
then found Mr. Gidley has the RFC to perform light
with these limitations:
He must avoid concentrated exposure to unprotected heights,
dangerous equipment, and vibrations. The claimant cannot
interact with the public and can only occasionally interact
with supervisors. He is also limited to simple, routine,
unskilled job tasks, with only occasional changes in the work
(Tr. 23). Based on these findings, the ALJ determined Mr.
Gidley could not perform his past relevant work. (Tr. 27).
The ALJ determined Mr. Gidley could perform jobs that exist
in significant numbers in the national economy, specifically
cleaner/housekeeping, small parts assembler, and electronics