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Kelley v. Apfel
United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
185 F.3d 1211 (1999)
Stephen A. Kelley (plaintiff) applied for Social Security disability benefits and was denied, based on an administrative-law judge’s (ALJ) finding that he had a residual functional capacity (RFC) to perform full-time sedentary work existing in large numbers in the national economy. The ALJ’s decision became the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration, Kenneth Apfel (defendant). Kelley sought judicial review of the denial, and a district court affirmed it. Kelley appealed, arguing that the ALJ incorrectly assumed that part-time work could constitute substantial gainful activity. The commissioner’s initial brief never set forth his position that part-time work could constitute substantial gainful activity (SGA), precluding a finding of disability at step one of the administration’s five-step sequential process for determining disability but not at step five. Instead, the brief only rebutted Kelley’s argument by stating part-time work could preclude a disability finding without making the distinction between its preclusion at step one versus step five. An initial opinion was rendered based on the court of appeal’s false assumption that the ALJ based his decision on the claimant’s ability to perform part-time work given his RFC. The commissioner moved for clarification.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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