United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James (“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 applications for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”), 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 applications on November
22, 2011 (DIB) and December 6, 2011 (SSI). (Tr. 11). In these
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
Hepatitis C; Raynaud syndrome; manic depression; acid reflux;
“hands get cold easily and turn blue, white,
black”; and past suicide attempts. (Tr. 232). Plaintiff
alleges an onset date of June 17, 2011. (Tr. 11).
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and again
upon reconsideration. (Tr. 74-77).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
26-73, 97). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held
on June 5, 2013 in Russellville, Arkansas. (Tr. 26-73). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
John Miller. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) John Massey testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
forty-nine (49) years old. (Tr. 30). This age qualifies as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). (Tr. 30). As for
her education, Plaintiff also testified she had completed
high school. Id.
27, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered
an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's disability
applications. (Tr. 8-20). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through March 31, 2016. (Tr. 13, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since June 17, 2011, her alleged onset
date. (Tr. 13, Finding 2). The ALJ found Plaintiff had the
following severe impairments: chronic rheumatic disease,
Raynaud's disease, hepatitis C and history of right
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) repair. (Tr. 13-16, Finding
3). The ALJ also determined, however, that 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, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 16-20, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and found her
claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id.
Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she must avoid all
exposure to extreme cold, and she is unable to perform any
jobs which involve handling or preparing food products.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 20, Finding 6). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Based upon that testimony, the ALJ found Plaintiff's PRW
included work as an administrative clerk and data entry
clerk. Id. The ALJ also found that Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform this PRW. Id.
Accordingly, because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined in the Act, from June 17, 2011
through the date of his decision or through June 27, 2014.
(Tr. 20, Finding 7).
Plaintiff requested the review of the Appeals Council. The
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review.
(Tr. 1-3). On December 31, 2015, Plaintiff filed her
Complaint in this matter. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on January 5, 2016. ECF No. 7.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 9, 12. 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 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 ...