United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
HON. BARRY A. BRYANT JUDGE
Angelia Deweyce Parker (“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 a period of disability, Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI 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. 3. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this matter.
Plaintiff protectively filed her disability applications on September 12, 2012. (Tr. 199, 360-368). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to degenerative disc disease and nerve damage. (Tr. 382). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 28, 2011. (Tr. 199). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 247-282).
Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 213-246). Plaintiff’s administrative hearing was held on September 3, 2013 in El Dorado, Arkansas. Id. Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Mr. Throne. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Elizabeth Clem testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was forty-one (41) years old, which is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). (Tr. 218). As for her level of education, Plaintiff testified she had completed two years in college. Id.
After this hearing, on January 15, 2014, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. (Tr. 196-207). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2016. (Tr. 201, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since December 28, 2011, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 201, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine. (Tr. 201-202, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined these 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. 202, Finding 4).
The ALJ then considered Plaintiff’s Residual Functional Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 202-206, 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 most light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b). She can occasionally lift/carry 20 lbs and frequently lift/carry 10 lbs; she can stand and/or walk, with normal breaks, a total of no more than 6 hours of an 8 hour day, and sit, with normal breaks, up to 6 hours per day. She can only occasionally stoop and crouch.
The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 206, Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her PRW as a childcare worker, production line worker, and shift supervisor. Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her PRW, the ALJ determined she had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from December 28, 2011 through the date of his decision or through January 15, 2014. (Tr. 206, Finding 7). Thereafter, on June 23, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on June 23, 2015. ECF No. 3. 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 support the Commissioner’s decision. See Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001).
As long as there is substantial evidence in the record that supports the Commissioner’s decision, the Court may not reverse it simply because substantial evidence exists in the record that would have supported a contrary outcome or because the Court would have decided the case differently. See Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after reviewing the record, it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one of those positions ...