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Roberts v. Colvin

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

September 19, 2014

MARILYN ROBERTS, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.

Plaintiff, Marilyn Roberts, 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.

I. BACKGROUND

On December 2, 2010, Ms. Roberts protectively filed for DIB and SSI benefits due to diabetes, neuropathy of feet and hands, leg problems, and issues with both ears. (Tr. 222) Ms. Roberts's claims were denied initially and upon reconsideration. At Ms. Roberts's request, an Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") held a hearing on November 5, 2012, where Ms. Roberts appeared with her lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Ms. Roberts and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 34-70)

The ALJ issued a decision on February 27, 2013, finding that Ms. Roberts was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 19-29) The Appeals Council granted Ms. Roberts's request for review, and issued a partially favorable decision. (Tr. 1-9)

Ms. Roberts, who was fifty-four years old at the time of the hearing, has a tenth grade education and past relevant work as hand packager, factory worker, car detailer, and cattle farmer. (Tr. 7, 64)

II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE[1]

The ALJ found that Ms. Roberts had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 1, 2009 and she had the following severe impairments: back disorder, fibromyalgia, diabetes with neuropathy and leg pain, hearing loss, hyperthyroidism, visual impairment, and carpal tunnel syndrome. (Tr. 21) However, the ALJ found that Ms. Roberts 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. 23-24)

According to the ALJ, Ms. Roberts has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform light work with occasional stooping and crouching and no work requiring excellent vision or hearing. (Tr. 8, 25) The VE testified that a jobs available with these limitations were housekeeper, machine tender, and inspector. (Tr. 66) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Ms. Roberts could perform a significant number of jobs existing in the national economy, and found that she 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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