United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOE J. VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.
Plaintiff, Karla Newboles, appeals the final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration denying her claims for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act and for supplemental security income benefits under Title XVI of the Act. For reasons set out below, the decision of the Commissioner is AFFIRMED.
On September 10, 2008, Ms. Newboles protectively filed for benefits due to back problems, a herniated and bulging disc, elbow surgery, anxiety, and panic attacks. (Tr. 321, 415) An Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") denied Ms. Newboles's claims in an October 15, 2010, decision, but the ruling was remanded by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 108-134) A second ALJ denied her claims on April 9, 2012, but the Appeals Council again remanded the case. (Tr. 135-166)
At Ms. Newboles's request, an ALJ held a third hearing on September 9, 2013, where Ms. Newboles appeared with her lawyer. At the hearing, the ALJ heard testimony from Ms. Newboles and a vocational expert ("VE"). (Tr. 82-105)
The ALJ issued a decision on November 8, 2013, finding that Ms. Newboles was not disabled under the Act. (Tr. 10-22) The Appeals Council denied Ms. Newboles's request for review, making the ALJ's decision the Commissioner's final decision. (Tr. 1-3)
Ms. Newboles, who was forty-six years old at the time of the third hearing, has a high school education and past relevant work as an assembly line worker and telemarketer. (Tr. 14, 86-87)
II. DECISION OF THE ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
The ALJ found that Ms. Newboles had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since April 10, 2008, and she had the following severe impairments: COPD, degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine, obesity, right lateral epicondylitis, depression, and anxiety. (Tr. 12) However, the ALJ found that Ms. Newboles 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. Newboles has the residual functional capacity ("RFC") to perform sedentary, unskilled work. However, she is limited to work that does not involve climbing ladders, ropes or scaffolds, does not expose her to hazards or concentrated exposure to odors, fumes, or gases, and allows her to occasionally perform all remaining postural functions. The work may involve no more than occasional right upper extremity overhead reaching and occasional right hand fingering and gross dexterity activities. She can perform work that involves only occasional changes to the work place setting; where interpersonal contact is no more than incidental to the work performed; supervision is simple, direct, and concrete; and the complexity of one or two step tasks is learned and performed by rote with few variables and little judgment. The VE testified that the jobs available with these limitations were call out operator and surveillance system monitor. (Tr. 102-103) Accordingly, the ALJ determined that Ms. Newboles could perform a significant number of jobs existing in the national economy, and found 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 ...