United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.
Paula Renee McReynolds ("Plaintiff") brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social Security Act ("The Act"), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010), seeking judicial review of a final decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration ("SSA") denying her applications for Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB"), Supplemental Security Income ("SSI"), and a period of disability under Titles II and XVI of the Act.
Pursuant to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3) (2009), the Honorable P. K. Holmes, III referred this case to this Court for the purpose of making a report and recommendation. In accordance with that referral, and after reviewing the arguments in this case, this Court recommends Plaintiff's case be REVERSED AND REMANDED.
Plaintiff protectively filed her disability applications on August 19, 2011. (Tr. 17). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to COPD, diabetes, bulging discs in her lower back, bulging discs in her neck, depression, anxiety, and residuals of three surgeries on her left forearm. (Tr. 162). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March 7, 2012. (Tr. 10). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 85-88).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on March 16, 2012. (Tr. 92). This hearing request was granted. (Tr. 47-72). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on September 20, 2012 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Iva Nell Gibbons. Id. Only Plaintiff testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was thirty-seven (37) years old, which is defined as a "younger person" under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (2008) (SSI). (Tr. 50). As for her education, Plaintiff had obtained her GED, attended some college, and completed an EMT course. (Tr. 50).
On May 24, 2013, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 14-25). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through March 31, 2014. (Tr. 19, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA") since August 1, 2009, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 19, Finding 2). The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and mood disorder. (Tr. 19, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined those impairments did not meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 ("Listings"). (Tr. 19-20, Finding 4).
In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 20-23, Finding 5). First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found her claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that she can occasionally climb, balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch. She can understand, remember, and carry out simple, routine, repetitive tasks. She can respond to usual work situations and routine work changes. She can respond to supervision that is simple, direct, and concrete. She can occasionally interact with supervisors, co-workers, and the public.
The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work ("PRW") and found Plaintiff had no PRW. (Tr. 23, Finding 6). The ALJ then considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 23-24, Finding 10). To address this issue, the ALJ submitted post-hearing interrogatories to a Vocational Expert ("VE"). Id.
Specifically, the VE responded that a hypothetical person with Plaintiff's limitations retained the capacity to perform the following occupations: (1) machine tender with 2, 585 such jobs in Arkansas and 254, 748 such jobs in the nation; (2) production and assembly worker with 9, 506 such jobs in Arkansas and 832, 588 such jobs in the nation; and (3) motel maid with 3, 319 such jobs in Arkansas and 377, 516 such jobs in the nation. (Tr. 24). Based upon this testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could perform other work and had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from August 1, 2009 through the date of his decision or through May 24, 2013. (Tr. 24, Finding 11).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 12-13). On September 9, 2014, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On October 23, 2014, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have ...