United States District Court, M.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
WALLACE CAPEL, JR. CHIEF UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
January 2014, Debra Moore (“Plaintiff”) filed an
application for a period of disability, disability insurance
benefits (“DIB”), and Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title II and Title XVI of
the Social Security Act (“the Act”) alleging
disability beginning on February 4, 2013. Plaintiff's
application for SSI was denied on January 21, 2014, after the
Commissioner determined that Plaintiff did not meet the
income and resource requirements for SSI. Plaintiff's
application for disability and DIB was denied on February 20,
2014. After Plaintiff's applications for benefits were
denied at the initial administrative level, Plaintiff
requested and received a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge (“ALJ”). Following the hearing, the ALJ
issued a decision finding Plaintiff had not been under a
disability since February 4, 2013, as defined in the Social
Security Act. Plaintiff appealed to the Appeals Council and,
on February 28, 2017, the Appeals Council denied review of
the ALJ's decision. Accordingly, 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 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. 20);
Def.'s Consent to Jurisdiction (Doc. 21). Based on the
court's review of the record and the briefs of the
parties, the court REVERSES the decision of the Commissioner
and REMANDS the matter for further proceedings.
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 12
42 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.
(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 ...