United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
JANICE D. ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Janice Roberts seeks judicial review of the Social Security
Administration's denial of her application for
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
social security cases, courts . . . review the
Commissioner's decision for substantial evidence.
Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec, 631 F.3d 1176,
1178 (11th Cir. 2011). "Substantial evidence is more
than a scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion." Id. (quotation omitted). . . .
"We may not decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence,
or substitute our judgment for that of the
Commissioner." Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178
(quotation and brackets omitted). "If the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence, this Court must affirm, even if the proof
preponderates against it." Dyer v. Barnhart,
395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quotation omitted).
Mitchell v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., Ill. F.3d
780, 782 (11th Cir. 2014).
burden of proving disability lies with the claimant.
Moore v. Barnhart, 405 F.3d 1208, 1211 (11th Cir.
2005). The ALJ applies
... a five-step, "sequential" process for
determining whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(1). If an ALJ finds a claimant disabled or not
disabled at any given step, the ALJ does not go on to the
next step. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4). At the first
step, the ALJ must determine whether the claimant is
currently engaged in substantial gainful activity.
Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(i). At the second step,
the ALJ must determine whether the impairment or combination
of impairments for which the claimant allegedly suffers is
"severe." Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(h). At
the third step, the ALJ must decide whether the
claimant's severe impairments meet or medically equal a
listed impairment. Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii).
If not, the ALJ must then determine at step four whether the
claimant has the RFC to perform her past relevant work.
Id. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant
cannot perform her past relevant work, the ALJ must determine
at step five whether the claimant can make an adjustment to
other work, considering the claimant's RFC, age,
education, and work experience. An ALJ may make this
determination either by applying the Medical Vocational
Guidelines or by obtaining the testimony of a [Vocational
Stone v. Comm'r. of Soc. Sec. Admin., 596
F.App'x, 878, 879 (11th Cir. 2015) (footnote added).
who was 53 years old when her SSI claim was denied, alleges
disability beginning October 7, 2009. Tr. 29, 50-54. She has
a limited (7th grade) education and past work "helping
for brick laying, " "off and on maid service,
" and "various housekeeping jobs." Tr. 28, 93.
She does not recall whether she attended special education
classes, and reports a history of drug and alcohol abuse
starting at age 13. Tr. 228-29. She had a 2007 verbal IQ
score of 67, performance IQ score of 84, and full scale IQ
score of 73 (tr. 230) and a 2014 verbal comprehension index
score of 72, perceptual reasoning index score of 69, and full
scale IQ score of 68 (tr. 375). See tr. 22-23.
ruled against her after a hearing. Tr. 6-8, 19-29. He found
that Robert's borderline intellectual functioning,
depression, anxiety, degenerative joint disease of the left
knee, scoliosis, and hearing loss constituted severe
impairments but did not meet or medically equal a Listing.
Tr. 21-23. Based on the evidence of record, the ALJ found
that she retained the RFC for light work, except that
she can stand and walk up to six of eight hours and sit up to
six of eight hours with normal breaks. [She] can no more than
occasionally stair and ramp climb and can never climb ropes,
ladders, or scaffolds. [She] can no more than occasionally
stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl. [She] can no more than
occasionally perform overhead work. [She] must avoid loud
background noise and her work should be limited to simple,
routine, and repetitive tasks. Her work should involve only
simple, work-related decisions with few, if any, workplace
changes and she can have no more than occasional interaction
with co-workers and supervision, and no public interaction.
he determined, had no past relevant work but could perform
the requirements of work as an assembler, either light or
sedentary exertion, and both with an SVP of 2. Tr. 27-28.
Hence, Roberts was not disabled. Tr. 45. She disagrees,
arguing that the ALJ erred in his evaluation of her mental
functioning. Docs. 24 & 27.
argues that the ALJ erred by finding her borderline
intellectual functioning did not meet or equal ...