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.

Duckworth v. Berryhill

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

August 7, 2018

KATHERINE DUCKWORTH, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner for Operations of the Social Security Administration, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          T. MICHAEL PUTNAM UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         The plaintiff, Katherine Duckworth, seeks review of the decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying her application for a period of disability, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”). Duckworth 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). The parties have consented to the exercise of dispositive jurisdiction by a United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). (Doc. 9).

         I. Introduction

         Duckworth was 50 years old on the date of the ALJ's opinion on June 29, 2016. (Tr. at 20, 242). She completed the ninth grade, while attending special education classes. (Tr. at 274). Her past work experience includes employment as a cashier/checker, waitress, housekeeper/cleaner, dishwasher, and short order cook. (Tr. at 81, 274). Duckworth claims that she became disabled on July 3, 2014, due to “bipolar disorder, shortness of breath, [and] heart attack.” (Tr. at 273).

         When evaluating the disability of individuals over the age of eighteen, the regulations prescribe a five-step sequential evaluation process. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920; see also Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274, 1278 (11th Cir. 2001). The first step requires a determination of whether the claimant is “doing substantial gainful activity.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i). If she is, the claimant is not disabled and the evaluation stops. Id. If she is not, the Commissioner next considers the effect of all of the physical and mental impairments combined. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). These impairments must be severe and must meet the durational requirements before a claimant will be found to be disabled. Id. The decision depends on the medical evidence in the record. See Hart v. Finch, 440 F.2d 1340, 1341 (5th Cir. 1971). If the claimant's impairments are not severe, the analysis stops. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). Otherwise, the analysis continues to step three, which is a determination of whether the claimant's impairments meet or equal the severity of an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iii), 416.920(a)(4)(iii). If the claimant's impairments fall within this category, she will be found disabled without further consideration. Id. If they do not, a determination of the claimant's residual functional capacity will be made and the analysis proceeds to the fourth step. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e). Residual functional capacity (“RFC”) is an assessment, based on all relevant evidence, of a claimant's remaining ability to do work despite her impairments. 20 C.F.R. § 404.945(a)(1).

         The fourth step requires a determination of whether the claimant's impairments prevent her from returning to past relevant work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv), 416.920(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant can still do her past relevant work, the claimant is not disabled and the evaluation stops. Id. If the claimant cannot do past relevant work, then the analysis proceeds to the fifth step. Id. Step five requires the Commissioner to consider the claimant's RFC, as well as the claimant's age, education, and past work experience, in order to determine if she can do other work. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v), 416.920(a)(4)(v). If the claimant can do other work, the claimant is not disabled. Id. The burden is on the Commissioner to demonstrate that other jobs exist which the claimant can perform; and, once that burden is met, the claimant must prove her inability to perform those jobs in order to be found disabled. Jones v. Apfel, 190 F.3d 1224, 1228 (11th Cir. 1999).

         Applying the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found that Duckworth meets the nondisability requirements for a period of disability and DIB and was insured through September 14, 2014. (Tr. at 25). She further determined that Duckworth has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since the alleged onset date of her disability. (Tr. at 25). According to the ALJ, the plaintiff has the following impairments that are considered “severe” based on the requirements set forth in the regulations: “[m]orbid obesity, asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, depressive disorder with anxiety, borderline intellectual functioning, and mild degenerative joint disease of the left elbow.” (Tr. at 25). However, she found that these impairments neither meet nor medically equal any of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. at 27). The ALJ determined that Duckworth has the following residual functional capacity:

After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to stand/walk six hours in an eight-hour day; sit six hours in an eight-hour day; and lift/carry twenty pounds occasionally and ten pounds frequently. She can occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl, and climb ramps and stairs; never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolding and occasionally be exposed to dusts, fumes, odors, gases and poor ventilation. She can understand, remember, and carry out simple instructions; maintain attention and concentration for a two hour time period in order to complete an eight[]-hour workday; adapt to changes in the workforce that are introduced gradually and infrequently; maintain occasional interaction with co-workers and the general-public; and is expected to miss no greater than one to two days of work per month.

(Tr. at 34).

         According to the ALJ, Duckworth is unable to perform any of her past relevant work, she is “approaching advanced age, ” and she has a “limited education, ” as those terms are defined by the regulations. (Tr. at 37). She determined that “[t]ransferability of job skills is not material to the determination of disability because using the Medical-Vocational Rules as a framework supports a finding that the claimant is ‘not disabled,' whether or not the claimant has transferable job skills.” (Tr. at 37). The ALJ found that Duckworth has the residual functional capacity to perform light “work that exists in significant numbers in the national economy.” (Tr. at 38). Even though additional limitations impede Plaintiff's “residual functional capacity to perform the full range of light work, ” the ALJ determined that Plaintiff “would be able to perform the requirements of representative occupations such as a[n] inserter...; hand bander...; and bakery worker... .” (Tr. at 34). The ALJ concluded her findings by stating that Plaintiff “has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from July 3, 2014, through the date of this decision.” (Tr. at 38).

         II. Standard of Review

         This court's role in reviewing claims brought under the Social Security Act is a narrow one. The scope of its review is limited to determining (1) whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the findings of the Commissioner, and (2) whether the correct legal standards were applied. See Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 390, 401 (1971); Wilson v. Barnhart, 284 F.3d 1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002). The court approaches the factual findings of the Commissioner with deference, but applies close scrutiny to the legal conclusions. See Miles v. Chater, 84 F.3d 1397, 1400 (11th Cir. 1996). “Substantial evidence is more than a scintilla and is such relevant evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Mitchell v. Commissioner, Soc. Sec. Admin., 771 F.3d 780, 782 (11th Cir. 2014). The court may not decide facts, weigh evidence, or substitute its judgment for that of the Commissioner. Miles, 84 F.3d at 1400. “The substantial evidence standard permits administrative decision makers to act with considerable latitude, and ‘the possibility of drawing two inconsistent conclusions from the evidence does not prevent an administrative agency's finding from being supported by substantial evidence.'” Parker v. Bowen, 793 F.2d 1177, 1181 (11th Cir. 1986) (Gibson, J., dissenting) (quoting Consolo v. Federal Mar. Comm'n, 383 U.S. 607, 620 (1966)). Indeed, even if this court finds that the evidence preponderates against the Commissioner's decision, the court must affirm if the decision is supported by substantial evidence. Miles, 84 F.3d at 1400. No decision is automatic, however, for “despite this deferential standard [for review of claims] it is imperative that the Court scrutinize the record in its entirety to determine the reasonableness of the decision reached.” Bridges v. Bowen, 815 F.2d 622, 624 (11th Cir. 1987). Moreover, failure to apply the correct legal standards is grounds for reversal. See Bowen v. Heckler, 748 F.2d 629, 635 (11th Cir. 1984).

         III. Discussion

         Duckworth argues that the ALJ's decision should be reversed and remanded for six reasons. First, Duckworth asserts that she meets the requirements of Listing 12.05C. Second, the plaintiff contends that the ALJ failed to afford proper weight to the evidence and opinions examining psychologists. Third, the plaintiff maintains that the ALJ improperly assigned more weight to the non-examining physician than to the examining psychologists.[1] Fourth, the plaintiff asserts that that ALJ erroneously concluded that the plaintiff's subjective complaints regarding her symptoms were not entirely credible. Fifth, the plaintiff contends that the ALJ's decision is not based upon substantial evidence because the hypothetical questions presented to the vocational expert (“VE”) did not accurately set forth the plaintiff's limitations. Sixth and finally, Duckworth maintains that the ALJ's finding that she retains an RFC to perform light work is not supported by substantial evidence.[2]

A. Listing 12.05C

         Duckworth argues that she meets Listing 12.05C because she has a full scale IQ of 69 (as scored by Dr. Wilson in April 2014), in addition to depression and anxiety, mental impairments that impose significant limitations on her ability to work. The Commissioner argues that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's determination that the plaintiff failed to establish deficits in adaptive functioning, which are required for a finding of disability under Listing 12.05C.

         To “meet” a listing at the third step of the analysis, the claimant must have an impairment that “satisfies all of the criteria of that listing” and meets the durational requirements. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1524(c)(3), 416.925(c)(3). Under Listing 12.05C, [3] the ALJ must first determine whether the claimant has “significantly subaverage intellectual functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially manifested during the developmental period; i.e., the evidence demonstrates or supports onset of the impairment before age 22.”[4] In Jones v. Soc. Sec. Admin., Comm'r, the Eleventh Circuit stated that,

[a]lthough the Social Security regulations do not define “deficits in adaptive functioning, ” the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders states that adaptive functioning refers “to how well a person meets standards of personal independence and social responsibility, in comparison to others of similar age and sociocultural background. Adaptive functioning involves adaptive reasoning in three domains: conceptual, social, and practical.”

695 Fed.Appx. 507, 509 n.3 (11th Cir. 2017) (quoting Am. Psychiatric Ass'n, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 37 (5th ed. 2013)). In other words, “adaptive functioning ‘refers to how effectively individuals cope with common life demands and how well they meet the standards of personal independence expected of someone in their particular age group, sociological background, and community setting.'” O'Neal v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 614 Fed.Appx. 456, 459 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Am. Psychiatric Ass'n, Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders 42 (4th ed., Text Revision, 2000)).

         After satisfying the first three requirements, Listing 12.05C further provides that “[t]he required level of severity for this disorder is met when the evidence demonstrates . . . [a] valid verbal, performance or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function.”[5] A claimant is conclusively presumed to be disabled if she meets or equals the level of severity of the listed impairment. Perkins v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 553 Fed.Appx. 870, 872 (11th Cir. 2014) (quoting Crayton v. Callahan, 120 F.3d 1217, 1219 (11th Cir. 1997)). However, “[a] valid IQ score does not have to be conclusive of [an intellectual disability] where the IQ score is inconsistent with other record evidence regarding the claimant's daily living activities and behavior.” Perkins, 553 Fed.Appx. at 873. Additionally, the Eleventh Circuit has held that Listing 12.05C generally is met “when . . . evidence of an additional mental or physical impairment that has more than ‘minimal effect' on the claimant's ability to perform basic work activities.” Monroe v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 504 Fed.Appx. 808, 810 (11th Cir. 2013) (quoting Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992)).

         The Eleventh Circuit has described the step-three analysis required by Listing 12.05 as follows:

To meet listing 12.05 (“intellectual disability”), “a claimant must at least (1) have significantly subaverage general intellectual functioning; (2) have deficits in adaptive behavior; and (3) have manifested deficits in adaptive behavior before age 22.” Crayton, 120 F.3d at 1219. These requirements are referred to as the listing's “diagnostic criteria.” See 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app. 1, § 12.00 (“Listing 12.05 contains an introductory paragraph with the diagnostic description for [intellectual disability].”) In addition to satisfying the diagnostic criteria, a claimant must meet one of the four severity requirements in paragraphs A through D of the listing. See Id. § 12.05. Under paragraph C, the only paragraph at issue here, a claimant must show that she has both “[a] valid verbal, performance, or full scale IQ of 60 through 70 and a physical or other mental impairment imposing an additional and significant work-related limitation of function.”
A valid IQ score of 60 to 70 satisfies the first prong of paragraph C and creates a rebuttable presumption that the claimant satisfies the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability. See Hodges v. Barnhart, 276 F.3d 1265, 1268-69 (11th Cir. 2001). At the same time, it is well established that such a presumption does not arise where a qualifying IQ score is inconsistent with other record evidence concerning her daily activities and behavior. Lowery v. Sullivan, 979 F.2d 835, 837 (11th Cir. 1992) (citing Popp v. Heckler, 779 F.2d 1497, 1499 (11th Cir. 1986)). But once the ALJ accepts an IQ score as valid and finds that the claimant's impairments meet or medically equal the other criteria of listing 12.05C, the disability determination cannot be based on the claimant's age, education, or work experience. Id.
In sum, a claimant proves that she meets listing 12.05C by establishing the diagnostic criteria for intellectual disability, including deficits in adaptive functioning; showing onset before age 22; producing a valid, qualifying IQ score; and exhibiting the requisite deficits in work-related functioning.

Frame v. Comm'r, Soc. Sec. Admin., 596 Fed.Appx. 908, 910-11 (11th Cir. 2015) (italics added for emphasis).

         While the ALJ is permitted to consider evidence that is inconsistent with a finding of intellectual disability, an ability to perform work for several years does not rebut the intellectual disability where “there is no evidence that [the job held is] beyond the reach of a mildly retarded individual.” Durham v. Apfel, 34 F.Supp.2d 1373, 1380 (N.D.Ga. 1998). Moreover, a finding that a claimant worked in the past, and even that a claimant could return to her past work, does not preclude an award of benefits where the claimant meets or equals a Listing. Durham, 34 F.Supp.2d at 1381.

         The ALJ determined that Duckworth did not have deficits in adaptive functioning, thereby avoiding the need to analyze the validity of the full scale IQ score. Specifically, the ALJ held:

The claimant has at most borderline intellectual functioning instead of an intellectual disability. Dr. Wilson's testing provided low test scores concerning the claimant's IQ. However, as explained above, the claimant would only have an intellectual disability if the claimant had significant subaverage general intellectual functioning and have deficits in adaptive functioning. The claimant took and passed her driving test, which required knowledge of traffic laws and codes. The claimant worked in semi-skilled jobs. A review of the claimant's work history documents that the claimant was previously able to engage in work activity at the semiskilled level, as reported by the vocational expert. Working at a semi-skilled level appears inconsistent with Dr. Wilson's extreme limitations. Furthermore, the claimant has been able to run a household (Exhibits D7E and D5E). The claimant stated that she assists her husband in getting ready for work, she is able to do daily activities such as cleaning, doing laundry, taking care of animals, shopping in stores and cooking. The claimant also indicated that she takes care of her twenty-two year old stepdaughter, whom the claimant describes as slow. The claimant is also able to pay bills and maintain a checkbook and/or procure money orders. The claimant's intellect is described as "average" in the Quality of Life medical notes (Exhibit D7F).
. . .
The claimant was in special education classes during her school years. Nonetheless, the claimant stated that she has taken care of her husband for of over 17 years. The claimant gets up with her husband and assists him, as he gets ready for work. Additionally, the claimant noted that she takes care of her 22-year-old stepdaughter who is "slow". Nevertheless, the claimant's prepares good meals each day and does house cleaning. Additionally, the claimant can shop for food. The claimant and her husband indicated that the claimant could pay bills and use a checkbook/money order. The claimant and her husband related that the claimant could drive and go out alone. The claimant was able to obtain a driver's license and has worked several jobs including a cashier/checker and short order cook that were semiskilled jobs, as classified by the vocational expert. Therefore, I find that the claimant does not meet the introductory paragraph in Listing 12.00, which is a prerequisite to meeting the other section 12.05 requirements. Therefore, the claimant does not meet section 12.05 listing.

(Tr. at 31, 34).

         In this case, substantial evidence supports the ALJ's determination that Duckworth did not establish deficits in adaptive functioning. Because the ALJ may rely upon the plaintiff's work experience and daily activities and behavior to analyze any deficits in adaptive functioning, as she did here, record evidence supports each of the ALJ's findings regarding Duckworth's adaptive functioning. Perkins, 553 Fed.Appx. at 873. As the ALJ pointed out, the plaintiff's abilities to assist her husband and to take care of her stepdaughter, in addition to driving, shopping, maintaining finances, and working semi-skilled jobs, indicate that the plaintiff was not socially dependent on others entirely. Any true deficits in adaptive functioning were minimal at best. Although Duckworth puts forward evidence which contradicts the ALJ's determination, namely her husband's testimony regarding the conflicts that Duckworth has when she encounters people in public, the court may not reweigh the evidence even if the evidence in the record supports inconsistent results. Miles, 84 F.3d at 1400; Parker, 793 F.2d at 1181 (Gibson, J., dissenting) (quoting Consolo v. Federal Mar. Comm'n, 383 U.S. 607, 620 (1966)). Furthermore, the plaintiff points to the mental health source statements (“MHSS”) submitted by Dr. Wilson and Ms. Phillips, LCSW, who both concluded that Duckworth “[c]annot maintain socially appropriate behavior/adhere to basic standards of neatness/cleanliness.” (Tr. at 396-97). As will be explained in more detail below, the ALJ afforded little weight to each MHSS. For example, Ms. Phillips's treatment notes indicated that Duckworth's appearance was appropriate, which contradicts her and Dr. Wilson's opinions about Duckworth's neatness and cleanliness. (Tr. at 530, 532, 538, 540, 557, 564, 573, 576). Accordingly, because there is substantial evidence to support the ALJ's determination that Duckworth did not have deficits in adaptive functioning, there is no error in finding that her mental functioning did not meet Listing 12.05C.

         B. Examining and Non-Examining Sources

         Duckworth argues that the ALJ failed to afford proper weight to her examining psychologists, Dr. Wilson and Dr. Nichols, and to her treating therapist, Licensed Clinical Social Worker Kristy Phillips, with regard to Duckworth's ability to interact with the public and co-workers. She asserts that the ALJ substituted her own judgment for that of a medical expert. Furthermore, Duckworth argues that the ALJ impermissibly afforded more weight to a non- examining physician, Dr. Williams, than to her examining psychologists and treating therapist. The Commissioner argues that substantial evidence supports the ALJ's weighing of the opinion evidence.

         Under prevailing law, the ALJ must consider several factors in determining the weight to be given to a medical opinion. The weight to be afforded a medical opinion regarding the nature and severity of a claimant's impairments depends, among other things, upon the examining and treating relationship the medical source had with the claimant, the evidence the medical source presents to support the opinion, how consistent the opinion is with the record as a whole, and the specialty of the medical source. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(d), 416.927(d). Different types of medical sources are entitled to differing weights. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c). The opinion of a treating physician, who has an ongoing relationship with the patient, is entitled to the greatest weight. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(2). A non-treating physician or psychologist, who has examined the patient but does not treat the patient, is entitled to less weight. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(1)-(2). The least weight is given to a non-examining physician, who may provide an opinion based on a review of the medical the record but who has not examined the patient. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527(c)(1). Any medical source's opinion may be rejected where the evidence supports a contrary conclusion. See, e.g., McCloud v. Barnhart, 166 Fed.Appx. 410, 418-19 (11th Cir. 2008).

         A treating physician's testimony is entitled to “substantial or considerable weight unless ‘good cause' is shown to the contrary.” Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155, 1159 (11th Cir. 2004) (quoting Lewis v. Callahan, 125 F.3d 1436, 1440 (11th Cir. 1997)) (internal quotations omitted). “Good cause” exists for an ALJ not to give a treating physician's opinion substantial weight when the: “(1) treating physician's opinion was not bolstered by the evidence; (2) evidence supported a contrary finding; or (3) treating physician's opinion was conclusory or inconsistent with the doctor's own medical records.” Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1241 (11th Cir. 2004) (citing Lewis, 125 F.3d at 1440); see also Edwards v. Sullivan, 937 F.2d 580, 583-84 (11th Cir. 1991) (holding that “good cause” existed where the opinion was contradicted by other notations in the physician's own record).

         Additionally, an ALJ may consider evidence from “other sources, ” such as licensed clinical social workers, “to show the severity of [the claimant's] impairments and how it affects [the claimant's] ability to work.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1513(d) (2016); Social Security Ruling (“SSR”) 06-03p, 2006 WL 2329939, at *1 (Aug. 9, 2006).[6] An ALJ may consider the factors listed in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1527 in evaluating the opinions from “other sources.” SSR 06-03p, 2006 WL 2329939, at *4-5. Specifically,

[f]or opinions from sources such as teachers, counselors, and social workers who are not medical sources, and other non-medical professionals, it would be appropriate to consider such factors as the nature and extent of the relationship between the source and the individual, the source's qualifications, the source's area of specialty or expertise, the degree to which the source presents relevant evidence to support his or her opinion, whether the opinion is consistent with other evidence, and any other factors that tend to support or refute the opinion.

SSR 06-03p, 2006 WL 2329939, at *5.

         The Court also must be aware that opinions such as whether a claimant is disabled, the claimant's residual functional capacity, and the application of vocational factors “are not medical opinions, … but are, instead, opinions on issues reserved to the Commissioner because they are administrative findings that are dispositive of a case; i.e., that would direct the determination or decision of disability.” 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1527(e), 416.927(d). The Court is interested in the doctors' evaluations of the claimant's “condition and the medical consequences thereof, not their opinions of the legal consequences of his [or her] condition.” Lewis, 125 F.3d at 1440. Such statements by a physician are relevant to the ALJ's findings, but they are not determinative, as it is the ALJ who bears the responsibility for assessing a claimant's residual functional capacity. See, e.g., 20 C.F.R. § 404.1546(c).

         1. Dr. Wilson and Ms. Phillips's Opinions

         The plaintiff contends that Mental Health Source Statements provided by Dr. Wilson and Ms. Phillips indicate that Duckworth cannot interact with the public even on an occasional basis. (Doc. 17 at 24-27). In her decision, the ALJ addressed Dr. Wilson and Ms. Phillips's opinions as follows:

In the case at hand, Dr. Wilson noted that the claimant drove herself to the evaluation and had a valid driver's license. Dr. Wilson noted that the claimant's affect was irritable and she replied being "sad most of the time". Dr. Wilson related that the claimant reported that she had "three personalities". However, he related that the claimant cleans the house, watches television, and crochets blankets. Dr. Wilson stated that the claimant has a significant reduction in social engagement and reduced energy and activity. However, the claimant denied serious problems with her concentration and memory. Dr. Wilson reported the claimant had serious problems with feelings of worthlessness and there was evidence of anhedonia and restriction of activities. Dr. Wilson opined that the claimant had significant cognitive deficits with extremely deficient verbal skills, and very poor working memory and processing speed. Dr. Wilson opined that the claimant's ability to withstand the pressures of day-to-day occupational functioning was highly impaired and she would have difficulty with the interpersonal and task aspects of any job. Moreover, he reported that the claimant would likely have serious problems getting along with other people on the job. Furthermore, Dr. Wilson submitted a mental health related medical source statement on April 2, 2014, which indicated that the claimant had difficulty maintaining attention and concentration or performing activities within a schedule (Exhibit B3F). He stated that the claimant could not sustain an ordinary routine without special supervision; accept instructions and respond appropriately to criticism from supervisors; or maintain socially appropriate behavior and adhere to basic standards of neatness and claimant's [sic]. He stated that claimant would miss 30 days of work out of a month due to her psychological symptoms.
. . .
A review of the claimant's actual longitudinal treatment record fails to support the extreme limitations as opined by Dr. Wilson. On April 8, 2014, Kristy Phillips, LCSW, the claimant's mental health social worker, reported that the claimant was oriented to person, place, time, and situation (Exhibit D7F). Ms. Phillips described the claimant's behavior as unremarkable. The claimant's speech and affect were appropriate. The claimant's memory was intact and the claimant's attention was gained and maintained. Ms. Phillips noted that the claimant's thought processes were logical and thought content was unremarkable. In fact, Ms. Phillips rated the claimant's GAF level at 60, which represents only moderate symptomology. For the reasons stated above, I give Ms. Phillips' GAF rating only some weight.
On the other hand, Ms. Phillips also submitted a statement on May 13, 2014, stating that the claimant was unable to understand, remember, or carry out even very short and simple instructions (Exhibit D4F). She related that the claimant did not maintain attention, concentration, and/or pace for a period of at least two hours. Moreover, she related that the claimant did not maintain socially appropriate behavior and adhere to basic standards ...

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.