United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Northeastern Division
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Kimberly Kay Tisdale appeals the decision of the Commissioner
of Social Security denying her claim for supplemental
security income benefits. Based on the court's review of
the administrative record and the parties' briefs, the
court WILL AFFIRM the Commissioner's
August 14, 2014, Ms. Tisdale applied for supplemental
security income benefits, alleging that her disability began
on April 1, 2004. (R. 118-23). The Commissioner initially
denied her application and she requested review by an
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Id.
at 60-64, 71-73). After holding a hearing (id. at
25-45), the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision (id.
at 10-19), which Ms. Tisdale requested that the Appeals
Council review (id. at 116). On June 11, 2018, the
Appeals Council denied her request for review. (R. at 1-5).
The Commissioner's decision is now final and ripe for
judicial review. See 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
court's role in reviewing claims brought under the Social
Security Act is a narrow one. The court “must determine
whether the Commissioner's decision is supported by
substantial evidence and based on proper legal
standards.” Winschel v. Comm'r of Soc.
Sec., 631 F.3d 1176, 1178 (11th Cir. 2011) (quotation
marks omitted). “Where the ALJ denies benefits and the
Appeals Council denies review, [this court] review[s] the
ALJ's decision as the Commissioner's final
decision.” Henry v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec.,
802 F.3d 1264, 1267 (11th Cir. 2015) (quotation marks and
the substantial evidence standard, this court will affirm the
ALJ's decision if there exists ‘such relevant
evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
support a conclusion.'” Henry, 802 F.3d at
1267 (quoting Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178). The court
may not “decide the facts anew, reweigh the evidence,
” or substitute its judgment for that of the ALJ.
Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178 (quotation marks
omitted). The court must affirm “[e]ven if the evidence
preponderates against the Commissioner's findings.”
Crawford v. Comm'r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d 1155,
1158-59 (11th Cir. 2004) (quotation marks omitted).
the deferential standard for review of claims, the court must
“scrutinize the record as a whole to determine if the
decision reached is reasonable and supported by substantial
evidence.” Henry, 802 F.3d at 1267 (quoting
MacGregor v. Bowen, 786 F.2d 1050, 1053 (11th Cir.
1986)). The court must reverse the Commissioner's
decision if the ALJ does not apply the correct legal
standards. Cornelius v. Sullivan, 936 F.2d 1143,
1145-46 (11th Cir. 1991).
determine whether an individual is disabled, an ALJ follows a
five-step sequential evaluation process. The ALJ considers:
(1) whether the claimant is currently engaged in substantial
gainful activity; (2) whether the claimant has a severe
impairment or combination of impairments; (3) whether the
impairment meets or equals the severity of the specified
impairments in the Listing of Impairments; (4) based on a
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) assessment,
whether the claimant can perform any of his or her past
relevant work despite the impairment; and (5) whether there
are significant numbers of jobs in the national economy that
the claimant can perform given the claimant's RFC, age,
education, and work experience.
Winschel, 631 F.3d at 1178.
the ALJ determined that Ms. Tisdale had not engaged in
substantial gainful activity since August 14, 2014, the date
of her application. (R. at 12). He found that Ms. Tisdale had
the severe impairments of borderline intellectual functioning
and asthma, but that her gastroesophageal reflux disease and
chronic sinusitis were non-severe. (Id.).
concluded that Ms. Tisdale did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equalled the
severity of one of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. §
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (R. at 12-14). The ALJ
specifically found that Ms. Tisdale did not meet Listing
12.05(B), which requires that an applicant have either an
extreme limitation of one, or a marked limitation of two of
the following areas: (1) understanding, remembering, or
applying information; (2) interacting with others; (3)
concentrating, persisting, or maintaining pace; and (4)
adapting or managing oneself. (Id. at 13-14); 20
C.F.R. Pt. 404, Subpt. P, App'x 1, § ...