United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING PLAINTIFF'S
ALTERNATIVE MOTION FOR REMAND
M. DIGIROLAMO, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Patrice V. seeks judicial review under 42 U.S.C. §
405(g) of a final decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security (“Defendant” or the
“Commissioner”) denying her application for
disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act. Before the Court are Plaintiff's Motion for
Summary Judgment and alternative motion for remand (ECF No.
14) and Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (ECF No.
Plaintiff contends that the administrative record does not
contain substantial evidence to support the
Commissioner's decision that she is not disabled. No.
hearing is necessary. L.R. 105.6. For the reasons that
follow, Plaintiff's alternative motion for remand (ECF
No. 14) is GRANTED.
March 3, 2017, Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
Susan Maley held a hearing in Washington, D.C., where
Plaintiff and a vocational expert (“VE”)
testified. R. at 32-63. The ALJ thereafter found on July 5,
2017, that Plaintiff was not disabled from the amended
alleged onset date of disability of July 13, 2014, through
September 30, 2016, the date last insured. R. at 13-31. In so
finding, the ALJ found that, through the date last insured,
Plaintiff had moderate limitations in concentrating,
persisting, or maintaining pace. R. at 20. The ALJ then found
that, through the date last insured, Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”)
to perform a medium exertional range of work but with the
following nonexertional limitations: carrying out simple to
moderately complex tasks in two-hour segments with 10-minute
breaks in-between; having occasional direct interaction with
coworkers and supervisors, but no direct interaction with the
general public; and adapting to simple changes in a routine
R. at 21. The ALJ then determined that, although
Plaintiff could not perform her past relevant work as a
teacher's aide and reservationist, she was capable
through the date last insured of performing other work, such
as a hand packager, industrial cleaner, or floor waxer. R. at
26-27. Plaintiff thus was not disabled from July 13, 2014,
through September 30, 2016, the date last insured. R. at 27.
the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review, Plaintiff filed on July 20, 2018, a complaint in this
Court seeking review of the Commissioner's decision. Upon
the parties' consent, this case was transferred to a
United States Magistrate Judge for final disposition and
entry of judgment. The case then was reassigned to the
undersigned. The parties have briefed the issues, and the
matter is now fully submitted.
Determinations and Burden of Proof
Social Security Act defines a disability as the inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment that can
be expected to result in death or that has lasted or can be
expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A),
1382c(a)(3)(A); 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1505, 416.905. A
claimant has a disability when the claimant is “not
only unable to do his previous work but cannot, considering
his age, education, and work experience, engage in any other
kind of substantial gainful work which exists . . . in
significant numbers either in the region where such
individual lives or in several regions of the country.”
42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(2)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(B).
determine whether a claimant has a disability within the
meaning of the Social Security Act, the Commissioner follows
a five-step sequential evaluation process outlined in the
regulations. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920;
see Barnhart v. Thomas, 540 U.S. 20, 24-25, 124
S.Ct. 376, 379-80 (2003). “If at any step a finding of
disability or nondisability can be made, the [Commissioner]
will not review the claim further.” Thomas,
540 U.S. at 24, 124 S.Ct. at 379; see 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4), 416.920(a)(4). The claimant has
the burden of production and proof at steps one through four.
See Bowen v. Yuckert, 482 U.S. 137, 146 n.5, 107
S.Ct. 2287, 2294 n.5 (1987); Radford v. Colvin, 734
F.3d 288, 291 (4th Cir. 2013).
the Commissioner will consider a claimant's work
activity. If the claimant is engaged in substantial gainful
activity, then the claimant is not disabled. 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(a)(4)(i), 416.920(a)(4)(i).
if the claimant is not engaged in substantial gainful
activity, the Commissioner looks to see whether the claimant
has a “severe” impairment, i.e., an impairment or
combination of impairments that significantly limits the
claimant's physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities. Pass v. Chater, 65 F.3d 1200, 1203 ...