United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
ORDER AND OPINION ON AN APPEAL FROM A SOCIAL SECURITY
DISABILITY ACTION 
T. WALKER, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
protectively filed both a Title II application for a period
of disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”) and a Title XVI application for
supplemental security income (“SSI”), alleging
she became disabled on November 29, 2016. Plaintiff brings
this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g),
1383(c)(3) and to obtain judicial review of the final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“the Commissioner”) denying
December 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed applications for DIB and
SSI benefits alleging disability beginning on November 29,
2016, due to degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine.
(Transcript (“Tr.”) 224-234). After
Plaintiff's applications were denied initially on March
2, 2017, and on reconsideration on June 15, 2017, Plaintiff
appealed the denial to an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”), who denied Plaintiff's claims on
November 29, 2017, finding Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr.
11-26). Plaintiff appealed the ALJ's decision to the
Appeals Council, which denied Plaintiff's request for
review on March 5, 2018. (Tr. 1-6). Plaintiff then appealed
the decision to this Court. (Doc. 3). 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), 1383(c)(3).
reasons set forth below, it is ORDERED that
the decision of the Commissioner is hereby REVERSED
AND REMANDED to the Commissioner pursuant to
sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §405(g) for further
proceedings consistent with this opinion.
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
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(A); see
also 42 U.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 or laboratory diagnostic
techniques and must be 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 which exists in
the national economy. 42 U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B)-(G);
see also 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(2)-(3).
burden of proof in a social security disability case is
divided between the claimant and the Commissioner. 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. 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. The
overall burden, however, rests upon the claimant to prove
that he is unable to engage in any substantial gainful
activity that exists in the national economy. Doughty v.
Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 n.2 (11th Cir. 2001).
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. §§ 416.920-416.976.
OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW OF THE ALJ
made the following findings of fact and conclusions of law:
(1) The claimant meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through June 30, 2017.
(2) The claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since November 29, 2016, the alleged onset date (20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1571, et seq., 416.971,
(3) The claimant has the following severe impairment:
degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(c), 416.920(c)).
(4) The claimant does not have an impairment or combination
of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of
one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P,
app. 1 (20 C.F.R. §§ 404. 1520(d), 404.1525,
404.1526, 416.920(d), 416.925, 416.926).
(5) The claimant has the residual functional capacity to
perform less than a full range of light work as defined in 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). The claimant
can perform frequent climbing of ramps and stairs; ladders,
ropes, and scaffolds; and balancing. The claimant can perform
occasional stooping. The claimant can ...