United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, Magistrate Judge.
Kaila Faye Gilby ("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 application for a period of disability and Disability Insurance Benefits ("DIB") under Title II of the Act.
The Parties have consented to the jurisdiction of a magistrate judge to conduct any and all proceedings in this case, including conducting the trial, ordering the entry of a final judgment, and conducting all post-judgment proceedings. ECF No. 6. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.
Plaintiff filed her disability application on January 4, 2012. (Tr. 22, 140). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to lower back problems, asthma, and depression. (Tr. 170). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of August 27, 2011. (Tr. 22, 140). This application was denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 94-96). Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 106-108).
On December 4, 2012, the ALJ held an administrative hearing on Plaintiff's application in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 38-93). Plaintiff was present at this hearing and was represented by Matthew Ketcham. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert ("VE") John Massey testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was thirty-nine (39) years old, which is defined as a "younger person" under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008). (Tr. 43). As for her education, Plaintiff testified she had graduated from high school. (Tr. 43).
After this hearing, on March 8, 2013, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for DIB. (Tr. 19-32). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2016. (Tr. 24, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA") since August 27, 2011, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 24, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease and osteoarthritis of her lumbar spine; asthma; depressive disorder, not otherwise specified (NOS); and schizoid personality disorder. (Tr. 24, Finding 3). However, the ALJ also determined Plaintiff's 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. 24-26, Finding 4).
In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 26-30, 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, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except she can only occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl. In addition, she can only occasionally perform overhead work/overhead reaching, and she must avoid even moderate exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gases and poor ventilation. Lastly, the claimant is able to perform simple, routine and repetitive tasks in a setting where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed and the supervision required is simple, direct and concrete.
The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work ("PRW") and found Plaintiff had no PRW she could perform. (Tr. 30-31, Finding 6). The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 31-32, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Considering Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the VE testified such an individual retained the capacity to perform the following occupations: (1) maid or housekeeper (light) with 1, 100 such jobs in Arkansas and 132, 300 such jobs in the United States; (2) merchandise marker (light) with 2, 700 such jobs in Arkansas and 313, 700 such jobs in the United States; (3) production worker helper (sedentary) with 175 such jobs in Arkansas and 6, 600 such jobs in the United States; and (4) production worker (sedentary) with 500 such jobs in Arkansas and 28, 700 such jobs in the United States. Id. Based upon this testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined in the Act, from August 27, 2011 through the date of the ALJ's decision or through March 8, 2013. (Tr. 32, Finding 11).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 16). On November 24, 2014, the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff then filed the present appeal on December 11, 2014. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on December 12, 2014. ECF No. 6. This case is now ready for decision.
2. Applicable Law:
In reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2006); Ramirez v. Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to ...