United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
GUY M. ADKINS PLAINTIFF
CAROLYN W. COLVIN Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Adkins (“Plaintiff”) brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denying his claim for a
period of disability, disability insurance benefits
(“DIB”), and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) benefits under Titles II and XVI of the
Social Security Act (“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. 5). Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications for DIB and
SSI on January 19, 2012. (ECF No. 11, p. 15). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
pancreatitis, diabetes, and depression. (ECF No. 11, p. 184).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of August 1, 2008. (ECF No.
II, p. 169). These applications were denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 11, pp. 78-81).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
11, p. 99, 108). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on November 5, 2013, in Harrison, Arkansas. (ECF No. 11,
pp. 35-77). Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg
Thurman. Id. Plaintiff, Plaintiff's mother
Carolyn Adkins, and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Jim
Spraggins testified at this hearing. Id. At the time
of this hearing, Plaintiff was forty-seven (47) years old,
which is defined as a “younger person” under 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c); 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). (ECF
No. 11, p. 42). As for his level of education, Plaintiff has
a high school diploma and completed three technical schools
after graduation. Id. at 42-43.
this hearing, on February 24, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
DIB and SSI. (ECF No. 11, pp. 12-29). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Act through December 31, 2010. (ECF No. 11, p. 17,
Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since August
1, 2008, his alleged onset date. (ECF No. 11, p. 17, Finding
2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, peripheral
neuropathy, pancreatitis, and depression (ECF No. 11, pp.
17-18, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined
these impairments did not meet or medically equal the
requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in
Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Part 404 (“Listings”).
(ECF No. 11, pp. 18-19, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 11, pp. 19-27, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform: “light work as
defined in 20 C.F.R. 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except that
he is limited to work that requires only simple tasks and
instructions and can have only incidental contact with the
public” Id. at 19.
then determined Plaintiff could not return to his Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (ECF No. 11, p, 27,
Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. (ECF No. 11, pp. 71-77). Based on
Plaintiff's age, education, work experience, and RFC, the
ALJ determined there were jobs existing in significant
numbers in the national economy Plaintiff could perform, such
as a production line assembler, which has a DOT code of
739.687-030, with approximately five hundred eighty-three
thousand (583, 000) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately eleven thousand (11, 000) jobs in the state of
Arkansas, and even if Plaintiff was limited to sedentary
work, as a small products assembler, which has a DOT code of
735.687-018, with approximately two hundred three thousand
(203, 000) jobs in the national economy, and approximately
four thousand (4, 000) jobs in the state of Arkansas, and as
a small products inspector, which has a DOT code of
712.687-018, with approximately sixty-eight thousand (68,
000) jobs in the national economy, and approximately one
thousand one hundred (1, 100) jobs in the state of Louisiana.
(ECF No. 11, p. 28, Finding 10). I note that the reference to
the state of Louisiana in the ALJ's decision is a
scrivener's error; the VE testified that those
approximately one thousand one hundred (1, 100) jobs for the
representative DOT code were in the state of Arkansas. (ECF
No. 11, p. 74). Because jobs exist in significant numbers in
the national economy which Plaintiff can perform, the ALJ
also determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from August 1, 2008, through February 24,
2014, the date of the ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 11, p. 29,
on March 6, 2014, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 11, p. 9). The Appeals Council denied this
request on June 3, 2015. (ECF No. 11, pp. 5-8). On July 9,
2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court.
(ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of
this Court on July 30, 2015. (ECF No. 5). 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 there is substantial evidence in the record to support 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. §§