United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
MARY E. JOHNSON PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Johnson (“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 application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) and a period of disability 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. 7. 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 for DIB on
March 4, 2013 and for SSI on March 21, 2013. (Tr. 13,
193-202). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to hair loss, rheumatoid arthritis, borderline
lupus, bone pain and walking with a limp. (Tr. 246, 300).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2012. (Tr. 13).
These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 13).
Plaintiff's applications were denied, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing on her applications, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 141). Thereafter, on June
11, 2014, the ALJ held an administrative hearing on
Plaintiff's applications. (Tr. 35-66). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Donald Anderson testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
fifty-seven (57) years old, and graduated high school. (Tr.
12, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered
an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application
for DIB and SSI. (Tr. 13-29). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
met the insured status requirements of the Act through
December 31, 2018. (Tr. 16, Finding 1). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since January 1, 2012, her
alleged onset date. (Tr. 16, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the severe impairment of arthralgia.
(Tr. 16, Finding 3). The ALJ then determined Plaintiff's
impairments did not meet or medically equal the requirements
of any of the Listing of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart
P of Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 17,
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 19-27). First, the
ALJ indicated he 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 light work. (Tr. 19,
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 27, Finding 6). The ALJ found
Plaintiff was capable of performing her PRW as a home health
provider. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability as
defined by the Act from January 1, 2012 through the date of
the decision. (Tr. 28, Finding 7).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council review the ALJ's
decision. (Tr. 9). See 20 C.F.R. § 404.968. The
Appeals Council declined to review this unfavorable decision.
(Tr. 1-7). On December 11, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present
appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction
of this Court on December 21, 2015. ECF No. 7. Both Parties
have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10, 11. 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) (2010); 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
represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ
must be affirmed. See Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a “physical or mental impairment” as
“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. §§