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Bradley v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division

September 11, 2014

JANET BRADLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Jennie Bradley, appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (the "Commissioner") denying her claims for disability insurance benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Social Security Act (the "Act") and for supplemental security income ("SSI") benefits under Title XVI of the Act. After careful consideration of the record as a whole, the Court finds that the decision of the Commissioner is supported by substantial evidence.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 10, 2010, Ms. Bradley protectively filed for DIB and SSI benefits due to heart problems and back problems. (Tr. 133) On March 5, 2012, she filed for SSI. (Tr. 13) Ms. Bradley's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Ms. Bradley's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on August 31, 2012, where Ms. Bradley appeared with her lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Ms. Bradley and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 41-58)

The ALJ issued a decision on November 26, 2012, finding that Ms. Bradley was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 13-23) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Bradley's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-4)

Ms. Bradley, who was forty-seven years old at the time of the hearing, completed three semesters of college. (Tr. 45) She has past relevant work as a school cook/helper, quality control supervisor at a Frito-Lay factory, and small products assembler. (Tr. 55-56)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Ms. Bradley had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 30, 2010, and she had the following severe impairments: heart disease, lumbar osteoarthritis with associated back pain, obesity, and adjustment disorder with depression. (Tr. 15) However, the ALJ found that Ms. Bradley did not have an impairment or combination of impairments meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1.[2] (Tr. 30)

According to the ALJ, Ms. Bradley has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to do sedentary work, except only occasional stooping, crouching, crawling, and kneeling. She is limited to work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed; complexity of tasks can be learned by demonstration and repetition within thirty days with few variables and little judgment; and supervision required is simple direct and concrete. (Tr. 17) The VE testified that the jobs available with these limitations were compact assembler and small parts monitor. (Tr. 57)

After considering the VE's testimony, the ALJ determined that Ms. Bradley could perform a significant number of jobs existing in the national economy, and found that Ms. Bradley was not disabled.

III. ANALYSIS

A. Standard of Review

In reviewing the Commissioner's decision, this Court must determine whether there is substantial evidence in the record as a whole to support the decision.[3] Substantial evidence is "less than a preponderance, but sufficient for reasonable minds to find it adequate to support the decision."[4]

In reviewing the record as a whole, the Court must consider both evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision and evidence that supports the decision; but, the decision cannot be reversed, "simply ...


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