United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Jean Holter ("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") denyingher application for Disability
Insurance Benefits ("DIB") and a period of
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. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed her disability application on April 1,
2010. (Tr. 13). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to arthritis in her hips, right knee pain,
bilateral carpel tunnel syndrome, back pain, bunions on her
feet, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress
disorder. (Tr. 151). This application was denied initially
and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 65-66).
First Administrative Decision
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 31
-64). This hearing was held on January 17, 2012 in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by Sherri McDonough.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert ("VE")
Diane Smith testified at this hearing. Id. At this
hearing, Plaintiff testified she was forty-nine (49) years
old, which is defined as a "younger person" under
20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c).
(Tr. 33-34). As for her education level, Plaintiff testified
she had an associate's or two-year degree and some
limited vocational training after college. (Tr. 33-34).
March 27, 2012, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff s
application. (Tr. 10-26). The ALJ found Plaintiff last met
the insured status requirements of the Act on December 31,
2011. (Tr. 15, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity ("SGA")
from her alleged onset date of August 1, 2005 through her
date last insured of December 31, 2011. (Tr. 15, Finding 2).
The ALJ determined Plaintiff suffered from the following
severe impairments: bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome,
depression and anxiety, peripheral neuropathy, and disorder
of the back. (Tr. 15, Finding 3). 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. 16-17, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff s subj ective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 17-24, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiffs subjective complaints and
found her claimed limitations were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform a wide range of light work:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except the
claimant can only occasionally climb, balance, stoop, bend,
crouch, kneel and/or crawl. Based on diagnoses related to
depression and anxiety, the claimant would be limited to jobs
in which interpersonal contact is incidental to the work
performed, the complexity of tasks is learned and performed
by rote with few variables and little individual judgment,
and the supervision required is simple, direct and concrete.
then evaluated Plaintiffs Past Relevant Work
("PRW"). (Tr. 24, Finding 6). The ALJ determined
that, considering her RFC, Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of her PRW. (Tr. 24, Finding 6). The ALJ then determined
whether Plaintiff retained the capacity 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. Considering her RFC and
other limitations, the VE testified Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform representative occupations such as (1)
small products assembler (light, unskilled) with 40, 000 such
jobs in Arkansas, 150, 000 such jobs in the region, and 1.8
million such jobs in the nation; and (2) small parts packer
(light, unskilled) with 5, 000 such jobs in Arkansas, 20, 000
such jobs in the region, and 550, 000 such jobs in the
nation. (Tr. 25). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform this other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from August
1, 2005 (alleged onset date) through December 31, 2011 (date
Plaintiff was last insured). (Tr. 25, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 7). Thereafter,
on March 23, 2013, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff s
request for review. (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff filed suit in this
Court, and the Government did not oppose the remand. See
Holter v. SSA, 6:13-cv-06058 (ECF No. 12). Accordingly,
the Court reversed and remanded Plaintiffs case for further
administrative consideration. Id.