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Wood v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas

March 11, 2015

Aaron Wood, Plaintiff,
v.
Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.

ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER

J. THOMAS RAY, Magistrate Judge.

Aaron Wood seeks judicial review of the denial of his application for supplemental security income (SSI) and child's insurance benefits (CIB). Wood previously applied for disability and was denied.[1] He applied for SSI and CIB on January 26, 2011, with an alleged onset date of January 1, 1998.[2] The governing child disability rules require that Wood establish disability prior to his twenty-second birthday.[3] Accordingly, the relevant time period for purposes of CIB is January 1, 1998 to January 12, 2012. As to Wood's SSI claim, benefits cannot be received prior to the application date.[4] Therefore, the alleged onset date with respect to SSI is January 26, 2011. Wood bases disability on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar, anxiety, panic attacks, mood swings, insomnia and bad knees.[5]

The Commissioner's decision. The Commissioner's ALJ determined Wood had not attained age twenty-two as of the date of filing for CIB.[6] Wood has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since his eighteenth birthday or since the date he filed for SSI.[7] Wood has severe impairments - mood disorder, NOS; ADHD, combined type; bipolar disorder; anxiety disorder, NOS; depressive disorder; dependent personality traits; pain disorder with both medical and psychological factors; knee pain and morbid obesity.[8] None of Wood's severe impairments meet the Listings, [9] and Wood can perform light work with the following restrictions:

• occasional stooping, crouching, crawling and kneeling;
• interpersonal contact is restricted to limited interactions;
• meeting and greeting the public or answering simple questions may occur on occasion, but is not considered a job duty or requirement;
• interaction with co-workers is superficial and infrequent;
• complexity of tasks can be learned by demonstration or repetition within 30 days, with few variables and little judgment; and
• supervision required is simple, direct and concrete.[10]

The ALJ held that Wood has no past relevant work, [11] but can perform the positions of hand packer and janitorial work (cleaner), positions identified by the vocational expert (VE) as available in the state and national economies.[12] Wood's application was denied.[13]

After the Commissioner's Appeals Council denied a request for review, the ALJ's decision became a final decision for judicial review.[14] Wood filed this case to challenge the decision. In reviewing the decision, the Court must determine whether substantial evidence supports the decision and whether the ALJ made a legal error.[15]

Wood's allegations. Wood maintains that the ALJ's denial of disability benefits is not supported by substantial evidence because the hypothetical presented did not account for all of his limitations.

Substantial evidence is "less than a preponderance but... enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the conclusion."[16] For substantial evidence to exist in this case, a reasonable mind must accept the evidence as adequate to support the ALJ's denial of benefits.[17]

The hypothetical. Wood maintains that the ALJ erred in the hypothetical presented to the VE because (1) additional limitations based on Wood's mental impairments were not ...


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