United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
FINAL REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION ON AN APPEAL FROM A
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY ACTION
T. WALKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
a forty-eight (48) year old female, seeks Title II
disability, disability insurance benefits and Title XVI
Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") under the
Social Security Act ("the Act"), alleging
disability due to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Plaintiff brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) to obtain judicial review of the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("the
Commissioner") denying Plaintiffs claim.
fled applications for Social Security Disability and SSI
benefits ("SSI") on January 15, 2007, alleging
disability beginning September 1, 2006. (Tr. 329-33).
Plaintiffs applications were denied initially on July 11,
2007, and again upon reconsideration on March 20, 2008. (Tr.
124-27). Plaintiff appealed to an Administrative Law Judge
("ALJ") who issued an unfavorable decision (Tr.
128-39), and the Appeals Council then remanded the case back
to the ALJ.  (Tr. 140-43). A third hearing was
held before an ALJ on September 30, 2014. (Tr. 105-23).
Following the hearing, the ALJ issued a decision finding
Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 15-35). Plaintiff requested
review of the ALJ's decision, but the Appeals Council
denied the request. (Tr. 8-13). Plaintiff then appealed the
decision to this Court. (Doc. 1). This case is now before the
undersigned upon the administrative record and the
parties' pleadings and briefs, and is ripe for review
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
reasons set forth below, the decision of the Commissioner is
hereby REVERSED AND REMANDED to the Commissioner pursuant to
sentence four for further proceedings consistent with this
STANDARD FOR DETERMINING DISABILITY
individual is considered to be disabled for purposes of
disability benefits if he or she is unable to "engage in
any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically
determinable physical or mental impairment which can be
expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12months." 42U.S.C. §423(d)(1)(A). The impairment
or impairments must result "from anatomical,
psychological, or physiological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically accepted clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques" and are of such severity that the
claimant is "not only unable to do his or her previous
work, but cannot, considering age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work that exists in the national economy." 42 U.S.C.
burden of proof in a social security disability case is
divided between the claimant and the Commissioner.
Doughty v. Apfel 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 n.2 (11th Cir.
2001). The claimant bears the initial burden of establishing
the existence of a "disability" by demonstrating
that he or she is unable to perform his or her former type of
work. (Id.). Once the claimant has met this burden,
the burden shifts to the Commissioner to show that,
considering claimant's age, education, work experience,
and impairment, there are some other types of jobs that exist
in the national economy that the claimant can perform.
(Id.). The overall burden, however, rests upon the
claimant to prove that he or she is unable to engage in any
substantial gainful activity that exists in the national
summarized below, a five-step sequential analysis must be
used when evaluating a disability claim.
(1) The Commissioner must determine whether the applicant is
currently working; if so, the claim is denied.
(2) The Commissioner must determine whether the claimed
impairment is severe; that is, whether the impairment or
combination of impairments significantly limits the
individual's physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities; if not, the claim is denied.
(3) The Commissioner must determine whether the impairment
equals or exceeds in severity certain impairments described
in the impairment listings in the regulations; if it does,
the claimant is automatically entitled to disability
(4) The Commissioner must determine whether the applicant has
sufficient residual functional capacity to perform past work;
if so, the claim is denied.
(5) The Commissioner must determine, on the basis of
claimant's age, education, work experience, and residual
functional capacity, whether the applicant can perform any
other gainful and substantial work within the economy; if so,
the claim is denied.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520-1576.
FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW OF THE ALJ
made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
(1) The claimant met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act ...