United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Middle Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION 
G. CORNELIUS U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Darin Keith Gibson, appeals from the decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
("Commissioner") denying his application for a
period of disability and disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”). (Doc. 1). Plaintiff timely pursued and
exhausted his administrative remedies, and the decision of
the Commissioner is ripe for review. For the reasons stated
below, the Commissioner's decision is due to be affirmed.
FACTS, FRAMEWORK, AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was forty-eight years old when he filed his DIB application;
he was fifty at the time of the hearing before the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") and when the ALJ
issued his decision. (See R. 28, 34-35, 41). As of
Mach 31, 2016, the last date Plaintiff was insured for DIB,
he was forty-nine years old; he would turn fifty a little
more than a month later. (See R. 231). Plaintiff has
at least a high school education and speaks English; he has
prior work experience as a delivery route driver and
receiving clerk. (R. 62). Plaintiff filed the instant
application on June 24, 2014, alleging a disability onset of
June 14, 2014, due to a number of conditions stemming from a
2013 heart attack and a 2014 stroke. (R. 28, 235).
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; Doughty v. Apfel, 245 F.3d 1274,
1278 (11th Cir. 2001). The first step requires a
determination whether the claimant is performing substantial
gainful activity ("SGA"). 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(i). If the claimant is engaged in SGA, he or
she is not disabled and the evaluation stops. Id. If
the claimant is not engaged in SGA, the Commissioner proceeds
to consider the combined effects of all the claimant's
physical and mental impairments. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a)(4)(ii), 416.920(a)(4)(ii). These impairments must
be severe and must meet durational requirements before a
claimant will be found 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, at which the Commissioner determines whether the
claimant's impairments meet 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 impairments fall within this category, the claimant
will be found disabled without further consideration.
Id. If the impairments do not fall within the
listings, the Commissioner determines the claimant's
residual functional capacity ("RFC"). 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(e), 416.920(e).
four the Commissioner determines whether the impairments
prevent the claimant from returning to past relevant work. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv), 416.920(a)(4)(iv). If
the claimant is capable of performing past relevant work, he
or she is not disabled and the evaluation stops. Id.
If the claimant cannot perform past relevant work, the
analysis proceeds to the fifth step, at which the
Commissioner considers the claimant's RFC, as well as the
claimant's age, education, and past work experience, to
determine whether he or she can perform other work.
Id.; 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(v),
416.920(a)(4)(v). If the claimant can do other work, he or
she is not disabled. Id.
the sequential evaluation process, the ALJ found Plaintiff
had not engaged in SGA since his application date. (R. 30).
At step two, the ALJ found Plaintiff suffered from the
following severe impairments: (1) status post myocardial
infarction; (2) status post cerebrovascular accident with
transient ischemic attack; and (3) status post coronary
artery bypass grafting. (R. 30).
three, the ALJ found Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments meeting or medically equaling any
of the listed impairments through the date last insured. (R.
32). Before proceeding to step four, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the RFC to perform the full range of sedentary
work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1567(a). (R. 32).
four, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was unable to perform any
past relevant work. (R. 34). However, the ALJ concluded the
Medical-Vocational Guidelines (“Grids”) showed
Plaintiff could perform other jobs in light of his age,
education, RFC, and work experience. (R. 35). The ALJ
concluded by finding Plaintiff was not disabled.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
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 Stone v. Comm’r of Soc.
Sec., 544 F.App'x 839, 841 (11th Cir. 2013) (citing
Crawford v. Comm’r of Soc. Sec., 363 F.3d
1155, 1158 (11th Cir. 2004)). A court gives deference to the
factual findings of the Commissioner, provided those findings
are supported by substantial evidence but applies close
scrutiny to the legal conclusions. See Miles v.
Chater, 84 F.3d 1397, 1400 (11th Cir. 1996).
a court may not decide facts, weigh evidence, or substitute
its judgment for that of the Commissioner. Dyer v.
Barnhart, 395 F.3d 1206, 1210 (11th Cir. 2005) (quoting
Phillips v. Barnhart, 357 F.3d 1232, 1240 n.8 (11th
Cir. 2004)). “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. Fed. Mar.
Comm'n, 383 U.S. 607, 620 (1966)). Indeed, even if a
court finds that the proof preponderates against the
Commissioner’s decision, it must affirm if the decision
is supported by substantial evidence. Miles, 84 F.3d
at 1400 (citing Martin v. Sullivan, 894 F.2d 1520,
1529 (11th Cir. 1990)).
decision is automatic, for “despite th[e] deferential
standard [for review of claims], it is imperative that th[is]
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) (citing
Arnold v. Heckler, 732 F.2d 881, 883 (11th Cir.
1984)). Moreover, failure to apply the correct legal
standards is grounds for reversal. See Bowen v.
Heckler, 748 F.2d 629, 635 (11th Cir. 1984).