United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Bates (“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 his applications for a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI of the Act.
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. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on September
11, 2012 (DIB) and on September 17, 2012 (SSI). (Tr. 10). In
his applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
shoulder problems, back problems, and leg problems. (Tr.
245). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of August 9, 2010. (Tr.
10). These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 56-131).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
30-55). Plaintiff’s administrative hearing was held on
March 7, 2014 in Texarkana, Arkansas. Id. Plaintiff
was present and was represented by counsel at this hearing.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Ms. Parker testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
forty-nine (49) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB). (Tr.
32). As for his level of education, Plaintiff testified he
had obtained his GED and also completed some vocational
training. (Tr. 32-33).
this hearing, on May 23, 2014, the ALJ entered an unfavorable
decision denying Plaintiff’s applications. (Tr. 7-25).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through September 30, 2015. (Tr. 12,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since August
9, 2010, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 12, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
lumbar degenerative disc disease, degenerative two left
shoulder surgeries and right shoulder rotator cuff tear, knee
degenerative joint disease, diabetes mellitus, depression,
anxiety, and organic mental impairment. (Tr. 12-15, 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.
15-17, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff’s Residual Functional
Capacity (“RFC”). (Tr. 17-23, Finding 5). First,
the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff’s subjective complaints and
found his claimed limitations were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the RFC to perform the following:
The residual functional capacity produced by the medically
determinable impairments permits the lifting of 10 pounds
occasionally, and to frequently lift and/or carry less than
10 pounds, and to walk and stand for 2 hours in an 8 hour
workday, and sit for 6 hours in an 8 hour workday, as defined
by the regulations at 20 CFR §404. The claimant cannot
climb, use ladders, ropes, scaffolds or crawl. The claimant
can occasionally balance, stoop, bend, squat, kneel, and
crouch. The claimant should avoid reaching overhead and can
frequently but not constantly handle and finger. The claimant
can make simple work related decisions, and has the ability
to understand, carryout, and remember short and simple tasks
and instructions. The claimant requires nonpublic work, and
requires minimal coworker or supervisory interaction.
evaluated Plaintiff’s Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of his PRW. (Tr. 23-24, Finding 6). The ALJ then
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 24-25, Finding 10). The VE testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Specifically, the VE testified that, given Plaintiff’s
RFC and other limitations, a hypothetical person would be
able to perform the requirements of two unskilled, sedentary
jobs: (1) order clerk with 185, 000 such jobs in the nation
and 3, 200 such jobs in Arkansas; and (2) change account
clerk with 180, 000 such jobs in the nation and 4, 300 such
jobs in Arkansas. (Tr. 24). Based upon this testimony, and
because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform these
occupations, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under
a disability (as defined in the Act) from August 9, 2010
through the date of his decision or through May 23, 2014.
(Tr. 25, Finding 11).
then requested the Appeals Council’s review of the
ALJ’s unfavorable decision, and the Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff’s request for review. (Tr. 1-3).
Thereafter, on September 16, 2015, Plaintiff filed the
present appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on September 17,
2015. ECF No. 5. This case is now ready for decision.
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 ...