United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
H. ENGLAND, III UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Tammie Sherell Ware (“Ware”) seeks review,
pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), § 205(g) of the
Social Security Act, of a final decision of the Commissioner
of the Social Security Administration
(“Commissioner”) denying her application for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”). (Doc. 1). Ware timely pursued and
exhausted her administrative remedies. This case is therefore
ripe for review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The
undersigned has carefully considered the record and, for the
reasons stated below, the Commissioner's decision is
Factual and Procedural History
protectively filed an application for a period of disability
and DIB on August 14, 2012, alleging an onset date of March
10, 2008. (Tr. 314-17). On November 2, 2012, the
Commissioner denied Ware's claim. (Tr. 190-94). On
November 21, 2012, Ware requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). (Tr. 198-99).
On December 6, 2013, the ALJ held a hearing. (Tr. 75-116). At
the hearing, Ware amended her alleged onset date to February
27, 2010, (tr. 78). The ALJ denied Ware's claim on April
29, 2014. (Tr. 152-74). Ware sought review by the Appeals
Council, which vacated the decision and remanded the case to
the ALJ to reconsider Ware's residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) and obtain new testimony from a vocational
expert. (Tr. 177-79).
remand, the ALJ held a new hearing on April 5, 2016. (Tr.
33-74). The ALJ denied Ware's claim again on July 6,
2016. (Tr. 10-32). Ware again sought review by the Appeals
Council, but this time it denied her request. (Tr. 1-6). On
July 11, 2017, the date on which the Appeals Council denied
review, the ALJ's second decision became the final
decision of the Commissioner. On September 8, 2017, Ware
initiated this action. (Doc. 1).
date of the ALJ's second decision, Ware was forty-seven
years old, with previous work as certified nurse's
assistant and a cleaner/housekeeper. (Tr. 24).
Standard of Review[]
court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
narrowly circumscribed. The function of this Court is to
determine whether the decision of the Commissioner is
supported by substantial evidence and whether proper legal
standards were applied. Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 390, 91 S.Ct. 1420, 1422 (1971); Wilson v.
Barnhart, 284 F.3d 1219, 1221 (11th Cir. 2002). This
court must “scrutinize the record as a whole to
determine if the decision reached is reasonable and supported
by substantial evidence.” Bloodsworth v.
Heckler, 703 F.2d 1233, 1239 (11th Cir. 1983).
Substantial evidence is “such relevant evidence as a
reasonable person would accept as adequate to support a
conclusion.” Id. It is “more than a
scintilla, but less than a preponderance.” Id.
Court must uphold factual findings that are supported by
substantial evidence. However, it reviews the ALJ's legal
conclusions de novo because no presumption of
validity attaches to the ALJ's determination of the
proper legal standards to be applied. Davis v.
Shalala, 985 F.2d 528, 531 (11th Cir. 1993). If the
court finds an error in the ALJ's application of the law,
or if the ALJ fails to provide the court with sufficient
reasoning for determining the proper legal analysis has been
conducted, it must reverse the ALJ's decision.
Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143, 1145-46 (11th
Statutory and Regulatory Framework
qualify for disability benefits and establish her entitlement
for a period of disability, a claimant must be disabled as
defined by the Social Security Act and the Regulations
promulgated thereunder. The Regulations define
“disabled” as “the inability to do 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
twelve (12) months.” 20 C.F.R § 404.1505(a). To
establish entitlement to disability benefits, a claimant must
provide evidence of a “physical or mental
impairment” which “must result from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which can be
shown by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1508.
Regulations provide a five-step process for determining
whether a claimant is disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(i-v). The Commissioner must determine in
(1) whether the claimant is currently employed;
(2) whether the claimant has a severe ...