United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Jonesboro Division
ORDER REMANDING TO THE COMMISSIONER
Bobbitt (“Bobbitt”) applied for social security
disability benefits with an alleged onset date of October 6,
2011. (R. at 56). The administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) denied Bobbitt’s application, and
the Appeals Council declined her request for review. (R. at
1). The ALJ’s decision thus stands as the final
decision of the Commissioner from which Bobbitt has requested
reasons stated below, this Court reverses and remands the
The Commissioner’s Decision
found that Bobbitt had: (1) a severe impairment, namely
acquired equinus Achilles (R. at 27); and (2) the residual
functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform light
work, except that she was restricted from climbing ropes,
ladders, or scaffolding; from performing work at unprotected
heights; and from the use of any foot controls of the left
foot. (R. at 28). After hearing testimony from a vocational
expert, the ALJ determined that Bobbitt could not return to
past relevant work but could work in such jobs as motel maid
or cafeteria server. (R. at 30-31). As a result, the ALJ held
that Bobbitt was not disabled. (R. at 32).
argues that substantial evidence does not support the
ALJ’s decision. She specifically argues that the
ALJ’s credibility analysis was flawed and that the
medical records support her allegations.
Commissioner’s decision must be affirmed if it is not
based on legal error and is supported by substantial evidence
in the record as a whole. Long v. Chater, 108 F.3d
185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997). “Substantial evidence in the
record as a whole” has been defined to mean “less
than a preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would
find it adequate to support the ALJ’s decision.”
Slusser v. Astrue, 557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009). The Court defers to the ALJ’s credibility
determination if it is supported by good reasons and
substantial evidence. Turpin v. Colvin, 750 F.3d
989, 993 (8th Cir. 2014).
carefully reviewing the record, the Court concludes that the
ALJ’s credibility analysis is flawed. The ALJ commended
Bobbitt on her work history, both in the decision and at the
hearing. (R. at 29, 40). This strong work history includes
two jobs, each of which she held for almost nine years, with
no gap in employment. (R. at 173). Such a work history lends
support to a claimant’s credibility. O'Donnell
v. Barnhart, 318 F.3d 811, 816-17 (8th Cir. 2003).
Bobbitt declined pain medication on two occasions, the
overall evidence supports her allegations of pain. (R. at
283, 342, 344). Notably, Bobbitt declined treatment
recommended for reflex sympathetic dystrophy of the lower
limb, a condition she later was determined not to have. (R.
at 250, 282, 283). Further, Bobbitt has been prescribed
hydrocodone and a Medrol Dosepak. (R. at 157, 210). She
reported that the Medrol Dosepak was not effective in
controlling her pain and that hydrocodone makes her sick and
sleepy. (R. at 157, 287). She testified to using ibuprofen to
help control her pain. (R. at 43).
stated that Bobbitt’s daily activities do not support a
finding of disability (R. at 30). However, the Eighth Circuit
has held that light housework and other such activities do
not, standing alone, support a finding that a claimant can
perform full time competitive work. Baumgarten v.
Chater, 75 F.3d 366, 369 (8th Cir. 1996). “The
test is whether the claimant has ‘the ability to
perform the requisite physical acts day in and day out, in
the sometimes competitive and stressful conditions in which
real people work in the real world.’” Draper
v. Barnhart, 425 F.3d 1127, 1131 (8th Cir. 2005)
(quoting McCoy v. Schweiker, 683 F.2d 1138, 1147
(8th Cir. 1982)). In particular, the ALJ noted that Bobbitt
can shop while leaning on a shopping cart for support. (R. at
30). Light work generally requires that a worker be capable
of walking or standing for six hours in an eight-hour
workday. Holley v. Massanari, 253 F.3d 1088, 1091
(8th Cir. 2001). The fact that Bobbitt must lean on a
shopping cart while she shops does not support her ability to
perform light work.
reported shopping for three hours on one occasion, after
which she had to rest. (R. at 289). Her treating podiatrist
later opined that two hours was the approximate maximum time
she could walk and stand before needing to rest her foot. (R.
at 282). In short, the objective medical evidence simply does
not provide any support for the ALJ’s determination
that Bobbitt had the RFC to perform light work, which would
have required her to stand or walk for six hours in an
foregoing reasons, the Court finds that the ALJ’s
decision is not supported by substantial evidence. On remand,
the ALJ is instructed to reevaluate Bobbitt’s RFC,
specifically in regard to a ...