United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Gasca (“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 Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”).
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. 6. 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 January 31,
2013. (Tr. 11). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to chronic anxiety and panic disorder. (Tr.
173). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2010.
(Tr. 11). This application was denied initially and again
upon reconsideration. (Tr. 25-50). Plaintiff was subsequently
incarcerated and did not request an administrative hearing.
(Tr. 144-146). Instead, she requested her case be decided
base upon the information contained in the record.
November 14, 2014, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 8-20). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since January 31, 2013, her application date. (Tr. 13,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: mental disorders (mood/affective
disorders, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder);
personality disorder; and substance abuse, alcohol, and
drugs. (Tr. 13-14, Finding 2). 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. 14-15, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and her RFC. (Tr. 15-18, Finding 4).. 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 a wide range of light work:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels but with the following non-exertional
limitations: The claimant is able to perform work where
interpersonal contact with co-workers and supervisors is only
incidental to the work performed, there is no contact with
the general public, the complexity of tasks is learned and
performed by rote, with few variables and little use of
judgment, and the supervision required is simple, direct, and
found Plaintiff had a limited education and was able to
communicate in English. (Tr. 19, Finding 7). The ALJ also
found Plaintiff was thirty-six (36) years old, which is
defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c). (Tr. 18, Finding 6). The ALJ evaluated
Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and
found Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr.
18, Finding 5).
then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity other
work existing in significant numbers in the national economy.
(Tr. 19-20, Finding 9). A vocational expert responded to
written interrogatories on this issue. Id.
Considering Plaintiff's RFC and other limitations, the
ALJ determined a hypothetical person with those limitations
retains the capacity to perform occupations such as the
following: (1) hand packager (medium, unskilled) with 41, 155
such jobs in the national economy and 315 such jobs in
Arkansas; (2) power screwdriver operator (light, unskilled)
with 61, 176 such jobs in the national economy and 422 such
jobs in Arkansas; and (3) production worker (light,
unskilled) with 51, 639 such jobs in the national economy and
360 such jobs in Arkansas. Id. Because Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform these jobs, she retained the
capacity to perform other work. Id. Accordingly, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from January 31, 2013 (application date)
through November 14, 2014 (ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 20,
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 6). Thereafter,
on December 17, 2015, the Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On January 7,
2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 6, 12-13. 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 ...