United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
Wallace Capel, Jr.C HIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Carter (“Plaintiff”) filed applications for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits and
for supplemental security income on March 11, 2013, and March
17, 2013, respectively. Both applications alleged disability
beginning on January 25, 2013. The applications were denied
at the initial administrative level. Plaintiff then requested
and received a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”). Following the hearing, the ALJ issued an
unfavorable decision, and the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. The ALJ's decision
consequently became the final decision of the Commissioner of
Social Security (“Commissioner”). See Chester
v. Bowen, 792 F.2d 129, 131 (11th Cir. 1986). The case
is now before the court for review of that decision under 42
U.S.C. § 405(g). Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c),
both parties have consented to the conduct of all proceedings
and entry of a final judgment by the undersigned United
States Magistrate Judge. Pl.'s Consent to Jurisdiction
(Doc. 9); Def.'s Consent to Jurisdiction (Doc. 10). Based
on the court's review of the record and the briefs of the
parties, the court REVERSES the decision of the Commissioner.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A), a person is entitled to
benefits when the person 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
U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
this determination, the Commissioner employs a five-step,
sequential evaluation process. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520, 416.920 (2011).
(1) Is the person presently unemployed?
(2) Is the person's impairment severe?
(3) Does the person's impairment meet or equal one of the
specific impairments set forth in 20 C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt.
P, App. 1 [the Listing of Impairments]?
(4) Is the person unable to perform his or her former
(5)Is the person unable to perform any other work within the
economy? An affirmative answer to any of the above questions
leads either to the next question, or, on steps three and
five, to a finding of disability. A negative answer to any
question, other than step three, leads to a determination of
McDaniel v. Bowen, 800 F.2d 1026, 1030 (11th Cir.
burden of proof rests on a claimant through Step Four.
See Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1237-39
(11th Cir. 2004). A claimant establishes a prima
facie case of qualifying disability once they have
carried the burden of proof from Step One through Step Four.
At Step Five, the burden shifts to the Commissioner, who must