Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Bailey v. Colvin

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division

February 17, 2015

BRANDY BAILEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OF OPINION

L. SCOTT COOGLER, District Judge.

The plaintiff, Brandy Bailey ("Bailey"), appeals from the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("Commissioner") denying her application for a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"), and Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"). Bailey timely pursued and exhausted her administrative remedies and the decision of the Commissioner is ripe for review pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).

I. Introduction

Bailey was twenty-nine years old at the time of the Administrative Law Judge's ("ALJ's") decision. (Tr. at 144-45.) Bailey has a twelfth-grade education with a certificate of completion. (Tr. at 56.) Bailey alleges that her disability began on December 14, 2011, and that her disability is due to intellectual disabilities, anxiety, and depression. (Tr. at 84, 144.)

The Social Security Administration has established a five-step sequential evaluation process for determining whether an individual is disabled and thus eligible for DIB or SSI. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920; see also Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th Cir. 2001). The evaluator will follow the steps in order until making a finding of either disabled or not disabled; if no finding is made, the analysis will proceed to the next step. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). The first step requires the evaluator to determine whether the plaintiff is engaged in substantial gainful activity. See id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i). If the plaintiff is not engaged in substantial gainful activity, the evaluator moves on to the next step.

The second step requires the evaluator to consider the combined severity of the plaintiff's medically determinable physical and mental impairments. See id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). An individual impairment or combination of impairments that is not classified as "severe" and does not satisfy the durational requirements set forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1509 and 416.909 will result in a finding of not disabled. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). The decision depends on the medical evidence contained in the record. See Hart v. Finch, 440 F.2d 1340, 1341 (5th Cir. 1971) (concluding that "substantial medical evidence in the record" adequately supported the finding that plaintiff was not disabled).

Similarly, the third step requires the evaluator to consider whether the plaintiff's impairment or combination of impairments meets or is medically equal to the criteria of an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii), 416.920(a)(4)(iii). If the criteria of a listed impairment and the durational requirements set forth in 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1509 and 416.909 are satisfied, the evaluator will make a finding of disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii), 416.920(a)(4)(iii).

If the plaintiff's impairment or combination of impairments does not meet or medically equal a listed impairment, the evaluator must determine the plaintiff's residual functional capacity ("RFC") before proceeding to the fourth step. See id. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). The fourth step requires the evaluator to determine whether the plaintiff has the RFC to perform the requirements of his past relevant work. See id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv), 416.920(a)(4)(iv). If the plaintiff's impairment or combination of impairments does not prevent him from performing his past relevant work, the evaluator will make a finding of not disabled. See id.

The fifth and final step requires the evaluator to consider the plaintiff's RFC, age, education, and work experience in order to determine whether the plaintiff can make an adjustment to other work. See id. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416.920(a)(4)(v). If the plaintiff can perform other work, the evaluator will find him not disabled. Id .; see also 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(g), 416.920(g). If the plaintiff cannot perform other work, the evaluator will find him disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 404.1520(g), 416.920(a)(4)(v), 416.920(g).

Applying the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found that Bailey meets the non-disability requirements for a period of disability, DIB, and SSI and was insured through the date of his decision. (Tr. at 21.) She further determined that Bailey has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset of her disability. ( Id. ) According to the ALJ, Bailey's mild to borderline mental retardation was a severe impairment. ( Id. ) The ALJ next determined that Bailey's impairments neither met nor were medically equal to any of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. ( Id. at 28.)

Because Bailey could not be considered "disabled" based solely on whether her impairments met or medically equaled those listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, the ALJ next assessed the effect of Bailey's alleged impairments on her RFC. The ALJ found that Bailey had an RFC that:

enabled her to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the following nonexertional limitations: she can understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions; she is limited to jobs involving infrequent and well explained workplace changes; she is limited to casual, nonintensive interaction with members of the general public; and she can concentrate/remain on task for two hours at a time, sufficient to complete an eight-hour workday.

(Tr. at 24.) The ALJ determined that Bailey was unable to perform past relevant work. (Tr. at 26.) The ALJ determined that Bailey was a "younger individual" at the onset date of the alleged disability, that she had a high school education, and that transferability of Bailey's skills was not at issue because her past relevant work was unskilled. ( Id. ) Relying on the Medical-Vocation Guidelines and a vocational expert's ("VE's") opinion, the ALJ found that there were a significant number of jobs in the national economy that Bailey was capable of performing, such as garment steamer, rug cleaner, and hand presser. (Tr. at ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.