United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Templeton (“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 a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) under Title II 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. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed her DIB application on August 13, 2012.
(Tr. 14). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to being legally blind in her right eye, vision
loss and double vision in both eyes, post traumatic stress
syndrome, depression and anxiety, severe depth perception
loss, peripheral vision loss in both eyes, stroke in right
eye, daily headaches and pain, short term memory loss, and
trouble walking “in unfamiliar places without
assistance.” (Tr. 210). Plaintiff alleges an onset date
of October 5, 2011. (Tr. 14). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 82-100).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 128). The ALJ granted that request and held
an administrative hearing on June 25, 2014 in Texarkana,
Arkansas. (Tr. 35-69). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present
and was represented by counsel. Id. Plaintiff,
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Ms. Parker, and Medical
Expert (“ME”) Dr. Cole testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
fifty-two (52) years old, which is defined as a “person
closely approaching advanced age” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1563(d) (DIB). (Tr. 38). As for her level of
education, Plaintiff testified he had graduated from high
this hearing, on August 29, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
DIB. (Tr. 11-29). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff
met the insured status requirements of the Act through
December 31, 2015. (Tr. 16, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since October 5, 2011, her alleged onset
date. (Tr. 16, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following “severe” impairments: history of
aneurysm; affective disorder; depressive disorder NOS;
anxiety; and posttraumatic stress disorder. (Tr. 16-20,
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 Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr.
20-21, Finding 4).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 21-28, 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 RFC to
perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I agree
with the DDS consultants and the Medical Expert the
impairments reasonably result in a residual functional
capacity to occasionally lift/carry 20 pounds, frequently
lift/carry 10 pounds, stand and/or walk for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday, and sit for 6 hours in an 8-hour workday,
except that the claimant can only understand, remember, and
carry out simple repetitive 1-2 step tasks, make decisions,
accept instructions, attend and concentrated for 2 hour
periods, respond appropriately to changes in the work
setting. Interpersonal contact with the public and supervisor
is limited to occasional. The evidence of vision deficits is
conflicting, but according to Dr. Sauer there would be no
visual restrictions and I adopt her finding.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 28, Finding 6). Considering her
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could not perform any of
her PRW. Id. The ALJ also determined whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing is significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
28-29, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that
testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform the following: (1) poultry boner (light,
unskilled) and (2) poultry eviscerator (light, unskilled).
Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform this work, the ALJ also determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from
Plaintiff's alleged onset date of October 5, 2011 through
the date of the ALJ's decision or through August 29,
2014. (Tr. 29, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr. 9).
On December 8, 2015, the Appeals Council denied this request.
(Tr. 1-3). On February 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present
appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on February 10, 2016. ECF No.
5. This case is now ripe for determination.
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 ...