United States District Court, D. Delaware
PATSY D. SCOTT Plaintiff
ANDREW M. SAUL Defendant
MaLachy E. Mannion United States District Judge.
D. Scott (“Scott”) brings this action under 42
U.S.C. §§405(g), 1383(c)(3) to review the final
decision of the Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”) denying her claims for Social
Security Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”)
and Social Security Income Benefits (“SSI”).
(Doc. 2). An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
concluded that Scott is capable of performing past relevant
work and, thus, is not entitled to DIB or SSI. (Doc. 7-2, at
25-26). After review of the ALJ's decision was denied, it
became the final decision of the Commissioner. (Doc. 7-2, at
1). Scott alleges that the ALJ erred: (1) in finding
Scott's mental impairments were non-severe; (2) in
finding that Scott was able to return to her past relevant
work; and (3) in failing to apply the medical-vocational
guidelines. (Doc. 11-1).
record in this action has been reviewed as instructed by 42
U.S.C. §405(g) to determine whether there is substantial
evidence to support the Commissioner's decision denying
Scott's claim for DIB and SSI under the Social Security
Act (“Act”). 42 U.S.C. §§401-433,
reasons set forth herein, Scott's motion for summary
judgment (Doc. 11) will be DENIED, the
Commissioner's cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc.
12) will be DENIED, the Commissioner's
decision denying DIB and SSI will be
VACATED, and this matter will be
REMANDED to the Commissioner under 42 U.S.C.
applied for DIB on December 3, 2013, alleging disability
beginning on January 1, 2012 (Doc. 7-5, at 2-3) and applied
for SSI on December 17, 2013, alleging disability beginning
on December 17, 2013 (Doc. 7-5, at 4-13). Scott's DIB and
SSI applications were both initially denied on March 6, 2014
(Doc. 7-3, at 13-34), and were again denied on
reconsideration on September 25, 2014 (Doc. 7-3, at 37-62).
December 10, 2014, Scott filed a request for a hearing before
an Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”). (Doc. 7-4,
19-20). Scott was represented by counsel at the hearing held
on February 17, 2017, via video conference. (Doc. 7-2, at
32-59). On March 24, 2017, the ALJ issued a decision denying
Scott's claims for DIB and SSI. (Doc. 7-2, at 10-26).
Scott requested review of the ALJ's decision by the
Social Security Administration's Appeals Council
(“Appeals Council”) on May 22, 2017. (Doc. 7-4,
at 83-85). The Appeals Council denied Scott's request for
review on September 12, 2017. (Doc. 7-2, at 2-6). Therefore,
the ALJ's decision denying Scott DIB and SSI became the
final decision of the Commissioner. 20 C.F.R.
§§404.955, 404.981; Sims v. Apfel, 530
U.S. 103, 106-07 (2000).
November 15, 2017, Scott filed a complaint seeking judicial
review of the ALJ's decision. (Doc. 2). Scott filed her
motion for summary judgment (Doc. 11) along with a brief in
support (Doc. 11-1) on February 19, 2019. The Commissioner
filed her cross-motion for summary judgment (Doc. 12) with a
brief in support of her motion and in opposition of
Scott's motion (Doc. 13) on March 21, 2019. The motions
are now ripe for disposition.
The Administrative Hearing
hearing held before an ALJ on February 17, 2017, Scott
testified along with vocational expert Brade Berger
(“VE Berger”). Scott was represented at the
hearing by Attorney Vanessa Guslav. The testimony may be
summarized as follows.
time of the hearing, Scott was 58 years old, stood 5'
3.5” tall, and weighed about 202 pounds. (Doc. 7-2, at
37-38). She completed college and holds a degree in the field
of accounting. (Doc. 7-2, at 39). In addition to working as
an accounting clerk, Scott has held positions at an Amazon
warehouse, her sister's daycare, and AstraZeneca
Pharmaceuticals. (Doc. 7-2, at 39-43). Scott quit her most
recent job as an accounting clerk for a funeral home because
she had trouble keeping up with the job performance
expectations that she had for herself and because the job