United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Pine Bluff Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Jureasa Johnson, 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. For reasons set out below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
On April 26, 2011, Ms. Johnson protectively filed for DIB and SSI benefits due to chronic back pain, nerve problems, poor blood flow, right leg pain, hearing loss, and partial right thumb amputation. (Tr. 150) Ms. Johnson's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Ms. Johnson's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on May 4, 2012, where Ms. Johnson appeared with her lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Ms. Johnson and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 34-63)
The ALJ issued a decision on June 20, 2012, finding that Ms. Johnson was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 18-27) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Johnson's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-4)
Ms. Johnson, who was forty-nine years old at the time of the hearing, has a GED and past relevant work as an administrative assistant at a hospital. (Tr. 37, 60)
II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
The ALJ found that Ms. Johnson had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since May 31, 2005, and she had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease post remote laminectomy, morbid obesity, and major depressive disorder. (Tr. 20) However, the ALJ found that Ms. Johnson 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. ( Id. )
According to the ALJ, Ms. Johnson has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work, except she can only occasionally climb, balance, stoop, bend, crouch, kneel, and crawl. She also is limited to work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed; complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote with little judgment and few variables; and supervision required is simple, direct, and concrete. (Tr. 23) The VE testified that a job available with these limitations was housekeeper. (Tr. 61) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Ms. Johnson could perform a significant number of jobs existing in the national economy, and found that she was not disabled.
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. Substantial evidence is "less than a preponderance, but sufficient for reasonable minds to find it adequate to support the decision."
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 ...