United States District Court, S.D. Georgia, Statesboro Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
Jennifer Dunaway Beasley 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., 771 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)(ii).
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
Fed.Appx., 878, 879 (11th Cir. 2015) (footnote added).
who was 39 years old when her SSI application was filed and
41 when it was denied, alleges disability beginning June 13,
2013. Tr. 67, 183. She completed high school and completed
one year of college, and has past work experience as a
receptionist (secretary), a substitute teacher, and an
insurance clerk. Tr. 74, 213, 223, 231-38. After a hearing,
the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. Tr. 12-25. He found
that Beasley's chronic pain syndrome, fibromyalgia,
osteoarthritis, restless leg syndrome, idiopathic neuropathy,
status post-lumbar hemilaminectomy with degenerative disc
disease, congenital bilateral ankle condition status
post-ankle fusions and triple arthrodesis, chronic
obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)/bronchitis, migraine
headaches, and generalized anxiety disorder constituted
severe impairments but did not meet or medically equal a
Listing. Tr. 14-16. Based on the evidence of record, the ALJ
found that she retained the RFC for a limited subset of
.. . . except that [she] is limited to occasional lower
extremity bilateral pedal control pushing or pulling,
occasional bending, balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching,
crawling, and climbing of ramps or stairs. [She] is precluded
from climbing ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. [She] is
precluded from exposure to extreme heat or cold, vibration or
machinery that causes vibrations, and hazardous conditions
such as unprotected heights, dangerous machinery, and uneven
surfaces. [She] would be limited to occasional exposure to
pulmonary irritants such as fumes, dusts, odors, and gases.
In addition, [she] is limited to simple, routine tasks
involving no more than simple, short instructions with simple
work-related decisions with few work place changes. [She]
would be limited to frequent interactions with the public,
co-workers, and supervisors.
he determined, was capable of performing her past work as a
receptionist (sedentary, semi-skilled work with an SVP of 4),
as well as alternative jobs as a call-out operator, order
clerk, and telephone clerk, all sedentary unskilled work with
an SVP of 2. Tr. 23-24. Beasley disagrees,
arguing that the ALJ failed to properly weigh the medical
opinion evidence and erred in evaluating her subjective pain
testimony. Doc. 10.