Perkins v. Astrue
Order entered that the decision of the Commissioner of Social Security, denying Plaintiffs claim for a period of disability, disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income, be REVERSED and REMANDED.. Signed by Magistrate Judge Sonja F. Bivins on 9/27/2012. (mjn)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF ALABAMA
GLORIA ANN PERKINS,
MICHAEL J. ASTRUE,
Commissioner of Social Security,*
CIVIL ACTION 11-00293-B
brings this action seeking judicial review of a final decision
of the Commissioner of Social Security denying her claim for a
supplemental security income under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401 et seq., and 1381 et seq.
On April 4, 2012, the parties consented to have the undersigned
conduct any and all proceedings in this case, and waived oral
argument. (Docs. 17, 18).
Thus, the action was referred to the
undersigned to conduct all proceedings and order the entry of
judgment in accordance with 28 U.S.C. § 636 (c). (Doc. 20). Upon
careful consideration of the administrative record and memoranda
of the parties, the decision of the Commissioner is REVERSED and
February 4, 2008. (Tr. 128-35).
In her applications, Plaintiff
alleges disability since January 18, 2008
due to high blood
pressure, a blood clot in the left leg, arthritis, and “severe
pain in body.”
(Id. at 143, 148).
were denied initially (Id. at 74-78), and she timely filed a
held an administrative hearing, which was attended by Plaintiff,
her attorney, and a vocational expert (“VE”).
December 7, 2009, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision wherein
he determined that Plaintiff is not disabled.
Plaintiff’s request for review was denied by the Appeals Council
(“AC”) on May 2, 2011.
(Id. at 1-6).
The ALJ’s decision became
the final decision of the Commissioner in accordance with 20
C.F.R. § 404.981.
The parties agree that this case is now ripe
for judicial review and is properly before this Court pursuant
to 42 U.S.C. §§ 405(g) and 1383(c)(3).
Issues on Appeal1
Whether substantial evidence supports the ALJ’s
Whether the ALJ erred in failing to develop the record
Plaintiff was born on July 24, 1975, and was 34 years old
at the time of the administrative hearing.
(Tr. 70, 85, 119).
Plaintiff testified that she left school in the ninth grade due
(Id. at 44).
Plaintiff has past relevant work
(“PRW”) as a presser, laundry worker, and gas station attendant.
(Id. at 44-46, 149).
Plaintiff testified that she has constant
pain in her lower back for which she takes pain medications and
depression. (Id. at 46-51).
With respect to her daily activities, Plaintiff testified
While Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred because he did
not consider the effect of her obesity on her impairments, she
has not developed this argument, or set forth any facts in
support of her assertion.
Accordingly, this issue is deemed
abandoned and is denied as a result. See Flanigan’s Enters.,
Inc. v. Fulton County, Ga., 242 F. 3d 976, 987 n.16 (llth Cir.
2001)(party waives issue not developed in its briefs.)
According to Plaintiff, her two oldest children perform all the
Plaintiff reported that she attends church, but does
Plaintiff testified that she reads, does puzzles, watches some
t.v., and assists her children with their school work. (Id. at
Standard of Review
In reviewing claims brought under the Act, this Court’s
supported by substantial evidence and 2) whether the correct
legal standards were applied.
1520, 1529 (11th Cir. 1990).2
Martin v. Sullivan, 894 F.2d
may not decide the facts
anew, reweigh the evidence, or substitute its judgment for that
of the Commissioner.
Sewell v. Bowen, 792 F.2d 1065, 1067 (11th
affirmed if they are based upon substantial evidence.
Sullivan, 921 F.2d 1233, 1235 (11th Cir. 1991); Bloodsworth v.
This Court’s review of the Commissioner’s application of
legal principles is plenary. Walker v. Bowen, 826 F.2d 996, 999
(11th Cir. 1987).
substantial evidence is defined as “more than a scintilla but
evidence as a reasonable person would accept as adequate to
evidence exists, a court must view the record as a whole, taking
into account evidence favorable, as well as unfavorable, to the
Chester v. Bowen, 792 F. 2d 129, 131
(11th Cir. 1986); Short v. Apfel, 1999 U.S. DIST. LEXIS 10163, *4
(S.D. Ala. June 14, 1999).
An individual who applies for Social Security disability
benefits must prove his disability.
Disability is defined as the “inability to do any
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 months.”
42 U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 404.1505(a), 416.905(a).
Security regulations provide a five-step sequential evaluation
process for determining if a claimant has proven her disability.3
20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520, 416.920.
In the case sub judice, the ALJ determined that Plaintiff
met the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act
substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date. (Tr.
The ALJ concluded that while Plaintiff has the severe
The claimant must first prove that he or she has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity.
The second step
requires the claimant to prove that he or she has a severe
impairment or combination of impairments. If, at the third step,
the claimant proves that the impairment or combination of
impairments meets or equals a listed impairment, then the
claimant is automatically found disabled regardless of age,
education, or work experience.
If the claimant cannot prevail
at the third step, he or she must proceed to the fourth step
where the claimant must prove an inability to perform their past
Jones v. Bowen, 810 F.2d 1001, 1005 (11th Cir.
1986). In evaluating whether the claimant has met this burden,
the examiner must consider the following four factors: (1)
objective medical facts and clinical findings; (2) diagnoses of
examining physicians; (3) evidence of pain; (4) the claimant’s
age, education and work history. Id. at 1005. Once a claimant
meets this burden, it becomes the Commissioner’s burden to prove
at the fifth step that the claimant is capable of engaging in
another kind of substantial gainful employment which exists in
claimant’s residual functional capacity, age, education, and
work history. Sryock v. Heckler, 764 F.2d 834 (11th Cir. 1985).
If the Commissioner can demonstrate that there are such jobs the
claimant can perform, the claimant must prove inability to
perform those jobs in order to be found disabled.
Apfel, 190 F.3d 1224, 1228 (11
Cir. 1999). See also Hale v.
Bowen, 831 F.2d 1007, 1011 (11th Cir. 1987) (citing Francis v.
Heckler, 749 F.2d 1562, 1564 (11th Cir. 1985)).
features, neuropathy, chronic back pain, and obesity, they do
Regulations No. 4.
The ALJ concluded that Plaintiff
retains the residual functional capacity (hereinafter “RFC”) to
perform light work.
According to the ALJ, Plaintiff can lift
and/or carry up to twenty pounds occasionally and up to ten
pounds frequently and can stand and/or walk about six hours in
an eight-hour workday but requires a sit/stand option at will.
The ALJ further determined that Plaintiff can frequently use her
bilateral lower extremity for the performance of pushing and/or
pulling movements, but that she is limited to occasional use of
determined that Plaintiff can frequently climb, bend, balance,
stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawl and can frequently climb ramps
and/or stairs, but that she can never climb ladders, ropes or
He also found that Plaintiff is prohibited from work
involving exposure to extreme heat and/or cold, vibration, and
machinery, or uneven surfaces. The ALJ also limited Plaintiff to
place changes. The ALJ also found that Plaintiff is unable to
work at a production pace.
(Id. at 25-26).
The ALJ utilized the services of a vocational expert and
determined that Plaintiff is unable to perform her PRW as a
presser or laborer but that she is capable of performing her PRW
as a gas station clerk. (Id. at 30). The ALJ further found that
considering Plaintiff’s age, education, work experience and RFC,
there are jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national
marker, and checker. Thus, he concluded that Plaintiff is not
(Id. at 30-31).
The relevant evidence4 of record includes notes from Bryan
Whitfield Memorial Hospital dated May 6, 2007. On that date,
Plaintiff presented to the emergency department with complaints
of moderate side and back pain and dizziness. On physical exam,
Examination of her back revealed tender paraspinal muscles and
While the undersigned has examined all of the medical
evidence contained in the record, including that which was
generated before Plaintiff’s alleged onset date of January 18,
2008, only that evidence which is relevant to the issues before
the Court is included in the summary.
discharge, she was provided nine Toradol5 pills and advised to
ice her back, not to lift or strain, and to take Motrin or Aleve
for pain. (Id. at 196-204).
The record also includes a physical therapy evaluation from
Bryan Whitfield Memorial Hospital dated October 2007.
received physical therapy on at least October 9, October 10, and
October 11, 2007 for treatment of mid back pain. (Id. at 184).
The therapy consisted of 15 minutes of electric stimulation, 20
application. (Id. at 185-88).
January 2008. (Tr. 216-232). During March, May and October 2007
visits, Plaintiff reported a number of ailments including back
pain, dizziness, and lower abdominal pain. She was prescribed
Cephadyn6 and doxycycline hyclate.7 (Id. at 218-221). On January
Toradol is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDs)
that works by reducing hormones that cause inflammation and pain
in the body. It is used short-term (5 days or less) to treat
moderate to severe pain. See http://www.drugs.com/toradol.html
(last visited Jan. 20, 2012).
Cephadyn is the combination of acetaminophen (pain
reliever and fever reducer) and butalbital (a barbiturate that
relaxes muscle contractions) and is used to treat tension
See http://www.drugs.com/mtm/cephadyn.html (last
visited Jan. 20, 2012).
24, 2008, Plaintiff reported low back pain that comes and goes,
and that her pain medication was not helping much. (Id. at 217).
March and April 2008 for back pain, shoulder pain and a tingling
sensation in her legs. On examination, mild tenderness in the
lumbar region was observed, and Plaintiff was prescribed Lortab8.
(Id. at 235-236).
On March 27, 2008, Huey Kidd, D.O. (hereinafter “Dr. Kidd”)
conducted a consultative examination at the Agency’s request.
(Id. at 237-39). On examination, Dr. Kidd noted Plaintiff was
obese, alert, pleasant, and interactive. He noted that she had
full range of motion and 5/5 strength of her upper and lowers
extremities. Plaintiff was able to heel walk, toe walk, squat,
and stand. Dr. Kidd noted Plaintiff could bend and touch her
toes but that doing so took a lot of effort for her. Plaintiff
ambulated without difficulty, and her straight leg raises were
negative. Testing of Plaintiff’s deep tendon reflexes was 2/4
Doxycycline Hyclate is a tetracycline antibiotic used to
.com/cdi/doxycycline-hyclate.html (last visited Jan. 20, 2012).
Lortab is a narcotic pain reliever used to relieve
moderate to severe pain. See http://www.drugs.com/lortab. html
(last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
reviewed an x-ray of Plaintiff’s lumber spine and noted that it
was normal. The x-ray showed a normal curvature of the lumbar
spine and that the disc spaces were well preserved. Dr. Kidd
assessed Plaintiff with low back pain. (Id. at 238).
The record reflects that Plaintiff was treated by Maurice
September 2008 through July 2009 for headaches and abdominal
Plaintiff reported migraines, chest pain, back pain, and pain in
her right arm and leg. On examination, Plaintiff’s extremities
were symmetrical with good range of motion, she had no pedal
edema, and she had a stable gait. Dr. Fitz-Gerald impression was
prescribed Garamycin IM9 and Cipro10, and given Imitrex11, and
directed to return in two weeks. (Id. at 300-02).
Garamycin is an antibiotic used to treat severe or serious
garamycin.html (last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Ciprofloxacin (“Cipro”) is used to treat or prevent
certain infections caused by bacteria.
.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000878/ (last visited Jan. 24,
Imitrex is used to treat migraine headaches by narrowing
drugs.com/imitrex.html (last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
A CT of Plaintiff’s head, taken on September 11, 2008, was
effect, or midline shift were reflected on the CT.
the ventricles and cisterns were normal.
The visualized sinuses
were clear, and no acute bony abnormalities were present. (Id.
During an October 6, 2008 examination of Plaintiff, Dr.
tenderness over L4 and L5, and that Plaintiff’s extremities were
prescribed Lortab, Soma12, and a burst of steroids, and referred
Plaintiff for a CT scan of her back. (Id. at 293-94). A CT scan
of Plaintiff’s lumbar spine was performed on October 9, 2008,
and revealed a “[m]ild diffuse disc bulge at L5-S1”.
was “[n]egative for fracture, dislocation or anterior listhesis”
and “[n]o significant disc space narrowing” was noted. (Id. at
migraine headache that was “worse than normal.” Dr. Fitz-Gerald
Soma is a muscle relaxant, is used with rest, physical
therapy, and other measures to relax muscles and relieve pain
and discomfort caused by strains, sprains, and other muscle
PMH0000717/ (last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Plaintiff for a second CT scan. (Id. at 279-80). Like the first
effect or midline shift were found. The ventricles and cisterns
were normal, the visualized sinuses were clear, and no acute
bony abnormalities were present.
(Id. at 326-30).
The treatment notes reflect that Plaintiff was treated by
coughing, and pain in the back of her legs. A chest x-ray showed
evidence of infection. Plaintiff was diagnosed with pharyngitis
prescribed Rocephin, Toradol, Keflex, Lortab and Darvocet.(Id.
During a May 14, 2009 visit, Dr. Fitz-Gerald noted that
Plaintiff had good range of motion in her extremities, a stable
gait and no pedal edema.
He also noted that Plaintiff was “also
advised to continue her same treatment program. (Id. at 268-70).
Seroquel is used to treat schizophrenia and bipolar
disorder (manic depression) in adults and children who are at
least 10 years old. See http://www.drugs.com/seroquel.html.
(Last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
The May 26, 2009 treatment notes reflect that Plaintiff had
broken out in a rash and had migraines.
Plaintiff was placed on
(Id. at 267).
The June 16, 2007 treatment
notes reflect that Plaintiff had a rash on her leg that was very
Dr. Fitz-Gerald attributed it to a drug reaction, and
(Id. at 263).
In the treatment notes dated July
stable. . . She has had an MRI of her back with some bulging
discs but not much.
I think this is a neuropathy.”
Periactin relieves red, irritated, itchy, watery eyes;
sneezing; and runny nose caused by allergies, irritants in the
pubmedhealth/PMH0000705/ (last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Decadron is a corticosteroid, similar to a natural
hormone produced by the adrenal glands. It relieves inflammation
(swelling, heat, redness, and pain) and is used to treat certain
forms of arthritis; skin, blood, kidney, eye, thyroid, and
intestinal disorders (e.g., colitis); severe allergies; and
asthma. See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000773/
(last visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Plaintiff was prescribed Darvocet,16 Lortab, Lisinopril,
(Id. at 258-59).
Mental Health Center. (Id. at 241-57).
Notes dated January 20,
2009 reflect that Plaintiff was treated in late 2008 and was
prescribed Seroquel after reporting hallucinations. According to
the notes, Plaintiff’s hallucinations ended after beginning the
medication therapy. (Id. at 256-7). Plaintiff was diagnosed with
Plaintiff was treated again on January 28,
On exam, her affect was normal.
She was calm, and her sleep and appetite were noted as
She was oriented times
despite the death of her grandmother. Plaintiff reported she
works on puzzles for relaxation, and the therapist opined that
Plaintiff “appears to be managing well.”
(Id. at 249).
Darvocet is used to relieve mild to moderate pain with or
without fever. See http://www.drugs.com/darvocet.html (last
visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Lyrica is used to relieve neuropathic pain (pain from
damaged nerves) that can occur in the arms, hands, fingers,
legs, feet, or toes of a person who has diabetes or in the area
of a rash if a person has had shingles.
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000327/ (last visited Jan.
hallucinations and reported that her sleep and appetite were
individual session, plaintiff was conversational and friendly.
She was directed to return in one month. (Id. at 248).
Plaintiff reported, in a visit on April 2, 2009, that she
was experiencing high levels of stress involving her children.
food down. (Id. at 247). On her next therapy visit on May 5,
children. She indicated however that she was “doing well” and
continue with relaxation activities. (Id. at 246).
During her June 3, 2009 visit, Plaintiff reported that she
According to the treatment notes, Plaintiff’s affect was normal,
she “appear[ed] stable”, her thinking was organized, and she
treatment plan dated June 9, 2009, Plaintiff’s GAF score was
listed as 50. Her diagnoses were major depressive disorder D/O,
severe with psychotic features. The Treatment Plan reflects that
directed to attend individual counseling and to engage in stress
physician assessment/treatment once quarterly. (Id. at 241-42).
During a therapy session on July 14, 2009, Plaintiff had a
normal affect, and reported her sleep and appetite were fair.
She relayed to the therapist that she was having higher stress
and higher anger but did not know why. She also indicated that
she was having issues with her boyfriend, that she was managing
her stress adequately, and overall, she was doing okay.
244). During her August 12, 2009 treatment session, Plaintiff
Vistaril18 helped her have less anxiety and temper outbursts.
(Id. at 243).
Vistaril is used to relieve the itching caused by
allergies and to control the nausea and vomiting caused by
various conditions, including motion sickness. It is also used
for anxiety and to treat the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
See http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0000796/ (last
visited Jan. 24, 2012).
Whether the ALJ erred in failing to develop the record
Plaintiff argues that the ALJ erred in failing to develop a
According to Plaintiff,
although the ALJ
found that she has
major depressive disorder with psychotic feature and found it to
consultative examination in order to evaluate any limitations
stemming from Plaintiff’s mental impairment for inclusion in his
RFC determination. (Doc. 14 at 8-9).
The Commissioner counters
that it is Plaintiff’s burden to prove that she is disabled and
to introduce evidence to support her application.
the Commissioner, the ALJ need develop the record only if the
record shows evidentiary gaps that result in unfairness or clear
prejudice, and no such gaps are reflected here. The Commissioner
also asserts that nothing in the record suggests Plaintiff’s
Because the Court determines that the decision of the
Commissioner should be reversed and remanded for further
proceedings based on the Plaintiff’s second claim, there is no
need for the Court to address Plaintiff’s first claim.
Robinson v. Massanari, 176 F. Supp. 2d 1278, 1280 and n.2 (S.D.
Ala. 2001); cf., Pendley v. Heckler, 767 F. 2d 1561, 1563 (llth
Cir. 1985)(“Because the ‘misuse of the expert testimony alone
warrants reversal’ we do not consider the appellant’s other
claims.”) (citations omitted).
mental limitations were any greater than those found by the ALJ
(Doc. 15 at 14-15).
An administrative hearing before an ALJ is not adversarial
in nature. Thus, it is well-established that “the ALJ has a
Barnhart, 355 F.3d 1272, 1276 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam).
This duty to develop the record exists even when the claimant is
represented by counsel. Brown v. Shalala, 44 F.3d 931, 934 (11th
Cir. 1995). In fulfilling the duty to conduct a full and fair
examination unless the record establishes that such is necessary
to enable the ALJ to render a decision. Holladay v. Bowen, 848
F.2d 1206, 1210 (llth Cir. 1988) (the ALJ is not required to
order a consultative examination and has discretion to order
such an exam only when necessary); see also Good v. Astrue, 240
Fed. Appx. 399, 404 (llth Cir. 2007)(rejecting claim that ALJ
reversibly erred in failing to order an additional consultative
examination because no physician had recommended an additional
responsible for making every reasonable effort to obtain from
the claimant’s treating physician(s) all the medical evidence
necessary to make a determination as to disability, it is the
evidence in support of her claim. See Ellison, 355 F. 3d at
1276; 20 C.F.R. § 416.912(a) and (c).20
See also Hale v. Bowen,
831 F.2d 1007, 1011 (11th Cir. 1987).
In McCall v. Bowen, 846 F.2d 1317, 1320 (llth Cir. 1988),
the Eleventh Circuit held that a plaintiff’s testimony regarding
problems might well be enough to require the appointment of a
psychiatrist or psychologist under the requirements of § 421(h).
The court found that since the case was being remanded on other
grounds, the applicability of § 421 should also be considered on
Later, in Sneed v. Barnhart, 214 Fed. Appx. 883 (llth Cir.
2006), a panel of the Eleventh Circuit observed as follows:
The regulations provide circumstances under which an ALJ will
usually order a consultative evaluation: when additional
evidence is needed and is not included in the medical record;
when evidence from a treating source cannot be obtained; when
there exists conflict, inconsistency, ambiguity or insufficiency
in the evidence that cannot be resolved by recontacting a
treating source; when there is an indication that Plaintiff’s
condition has changed in a way that will likely affect
Plaintiff’s ability to work, but such change is not reflected in
the record, and when necessary to secure highly technical or
specialized medical evidence that is not available from a
treating source. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1519a(b), 416.919a(b).
In any case where there is evidence
that indicates the existence of a mental
impairment, the Commissioner may determine
that the claimant is not under a disability,
only if the Commissioner has made "every
reasonable effort to obtain the opinion of a
McCall v. Bowen, 846 F.2d 1317, 1320 (llth
Cir. 1988)(quoting 42 U.S.C. § 421(h).
McCall interprets § 421(h), which requires
an ALJ to order a psychological consultation
impairment. The Third Circuit has held that
psychiatric consult pursuant to § 421 (h)
does not apply to cases falling under the
limited exception found in § 421(d), or
cases heard by an ALJ.
Plummer v. Apfel,
186 F.3d 422, 433 (3d Cir. 1999) (holding
applies only to cases falling under §
421(a), (c), (g), (i) at the initial and
In such cases, an
ALJ has regulatory flexibility to evaluate
Id. at 886.
assertion that the ALJ erred because he did not consider the
effects of a doctor’s opinions regarding her marked restrictions
in the ability to respond to customary work pressures or to
hours. In rejecting the plaintiff’s assertion, the court noted
that the evidence relied upon by the plaintiff was presented to
the appeals council after it had denied review, and that the
doctor had not rendered his opinions until four months after the
Thus, the Court concluded that it was unclear
how the ALJ could have failed to consider evidence and order a
presented to him. The Court further noted that the evidence that
was before the ALJ consisted of the plaintiff’s testimony that
she was tearful, and that she was on Zoloft, an antidepressant,
and medical records which indicated that the plaintiff was also
treated with Xanax and that she had a “fair prognosis” from her
“[t]hese brief references to depression, which was apparently
being treated with medication, were insufficient to trigger the
ALJ's duty to obtain a psychological consultative report.” Id.
In this case, the ALJ found as follows:
In activities of daily living, the
claimant has moderate restriction.
With regard to
concentration, persistence or pace, the
claimant has moderate difficulties.
episodes of decompensation, the claimant has
experienced no episodes of decompensation,
which has been of extended duration. . . .
impairment, I find that the claimant has
major depressive disorder with psychotic
I find that the claimant has a
severe limitation, but find that it does not
Progress notes indicated that the claimant
medications and she, in fact, testified at
the hearing that she was no longer hearing
Progress notes from the treating
psychiatrist indicated improvement with no
acknowledge that the claimant was assigned a
Global Assessment of Functioning of 50 in
However, in July 2009, Ms.
Perkins reported she was sleeping well with
outbursts. I find that the claimant is well
maintained on her medications and appears to
be improving with continuing therapy and
treatment. To give the claimant the benefit
of doubt, I have limited her to unskilled
work requiring only simple routine tasks
with few work place changes and no work at
production rate pace.
(Tr. at 25, 29).
The undersigned finds that unlike the plaintiff in Sneed,
the plaintiff in the instant case has a documented history of
regular and extended treatment for major depression d/o severe
anxiety and suspiciousness.
Further, while the medical records
reflect that Plaintiff responded well to medication, there is
hearing, she reported that she was no longer hearing voices, but
that she was still experiencing nightmares that caused her to
scream out at night. Further, the treatment notes reflect that
at times, Plaintiff reported that her sleep and appetite were
good, and that she was doing well, and on other visits, she
indicated she was experiencing high levels of stress and anger,
limitations flowing from Plaintiff’s mental impairments does not
include any facts or evidence he relied upon to formulate the
evidence regarding Plaintiff’s regular and extended
features coupled with evidence of her limited education, the ALJ
erred in not ordering a mental health consultative assessment in
order to determine the resulting mental functional limitations.
See Stewart v. Astrue, 551 F.Supp. 2d 1308, 1317 (N.D. Fla.
2008)(where the plaintiff received psychotropic medications for
an extended period of time and had very limited educational
The Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) is a numeric
scale (0 through 100) used by mental health clinicians that
measures a patient’s overall level of psychological, social, and
occupational functioning on a hypothetical continuum. A GAF
score of 31-40 suggests that behavior is considerably influenced
by delusions or hallucinations or serious impairment, in
communication or judgment (e.g., sometimes incoherent, acts
grossly inappropriately, suicidal preoccupation) OR inability to
function in almost all areas (e.g., stays in bed all day, no
job, home, or friends). A GAF score of 41-50 indicates serious
symptoms indicative of antisocial behavior (e.g., suicidal
ideation, severe obsessional rituals, frequent shoplifting) or
serious social dysfunction (e.g., no friends, unable to keep a
consultative assessment and intelligence testing).
For the reasons set forth, and upon careful consideration
of the administrative record and memoranda of the parties, it is
hereby ORDERED that the decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security, denying Plaintiff’s claim for a period of disability,
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income,
be REVERSED and REMANDED.
DONE this 27th day of September, 2012.
/s/ SONJA F. BIVINS
UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
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