United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
MELISSA J. ADKINS-BARNES, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
Melissa J Adkins-Barnes, Plaintiff, represented by Laura J.
McKinnon, McKinnon Law Firm.
Security Administration, Defendant, represented by Earnie A.
Joe, Social Security Administration & Stacey Elise McCord,
U.S. Attorney's Office.
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED DISPOSITION
VOLPE, Magistrate Judge.
recommended disposition has been submitted to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. The parties may file
specific objections to these findings and recommendations and
must provide the factual or legal basis for each objection.
The objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The District Judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
Melissa J. Adkins-Barnes, has appealed the final decision of
the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to
deny her claim for supplemental security income and
disability insurance benefits. Both parties have submitted
appeal briefs and the case is ready for decision.
court's function on review is to determine whether the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole and free of legal error.
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009); Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir.
1997); see also 42 U.S.C. Â§Â§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).
Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence as a
reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Reynolds v. Chater, 82 F.3d 254, 257 (8th
assessing the substantiality of the evidence, a court must
consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's
decision as well as evidence that supports it; the court may
not, however, reverse the Commissioner's decision merely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
decision. Sultan v. Barnhart, 368 F.3d 857, 863 (8th
Cir. 2004); Woolf v. Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th
is the "inability to engage in any substantial gainful
activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or
mental impairment which can be expected to result in death or
which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous
period of not less than 12 months." 42 U.S.C. Â§
1382(a)(3)(A). A "physical or mental impairment' is
an impairment that results from anatomical, physiological, or
psychological abnormalities which are demonstrable by
medically acceptable clinical and laboratory diagnostic
techniques." 42 U.S.C. Â§ 1382c(a)(3)(D).
conducting an administrative hearing, the Administrative Law
Judge (ALJ) concluded that Plaintiff had not been under a
disability within the meaning of the Social Security Act at
any time through July 15, 2014, the date of his decision.
(Tr. 48-59) After receiving and considering additional
evidence, on August 21, 2015, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for a review of the ALJ's
decision, making his decision the final decision of the
Commissioner. (Tr. 1-4) Plaintiff then filed her complaint
initiating this appeal. (Doc. No. 2)
reviewed the briefs and considered the parties'
respective arguments. I have also reviewed the accompanying
two volume transcript of medical and administrative evidence
in this case. After consideration of the record as a whole, I
find the decision of the Commissioner is supported by
is 38 years old. (Tr. 93) She earned a GED and has past
relevant work as an insurance clerk, lathe operator, and
office manager. (Tr. 106)
considered Plaintiff's impairments by way of the required
five-step sequential evaluation process. The first step
involves a determination of whether the claimant is involved
in substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. Â§ 416.920(a)(4)(i)
(2008). If the claimant is, benefits are denied, regardless
of medical condition, age, education or work experience.
Id. Â§ 416.920(b).
involves a determination of whether the claimant has an
impairment or combination of impairments which is
"severe" and meets the duration requirement.
Id. Â§ 416.920(a)(4)(ii). If not, benefits are
denied. Id. A "severe" impairment
significantly limits a ...