United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
MARY K. HAELTINE-MCCONKEY PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Haeltine-Mcconkey (“Plaintiff”) brings this
action pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of the Social
Security Act (“The Act”), 42 U.S.C. § 405(g)
(2006), 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 May 1,
2014. (Tr. 9). Plaintiff alleges she is disabled due to neck
pain, back pain, spine pain, muscle problems, and heart
problems. (Tr. 233). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March
25, 2014. (Tr. 9). These applications were denied initially
and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 69-116).
requested an administrative hearing on her applications, and
this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 28-68).
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on August 12,
2015 in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Id. Plaintiff was
present and was represented by counsel, Donna Price, at this
hearing. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Cola Brown testified at this hearing.
Id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff was
thirty-nine (39) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c)(2008) (SSI). (Tr. 33). As for her education,
Plaintiff also testified at this hearing that she had
completed high school. (Tr. 36).
October 15, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 6-21).
In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured
status requirements of the Act through September 30, 2017.
(Tr. 11, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since March 25, 2014, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 11,
Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: cervical strain, personality disorder,
mood disorder, anxiety disorder, and polysubstance abuse.
(Tr. 11-13, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined, however,
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or a combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed
impairments in the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to
Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr.
13-14, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ also evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 14-20, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and allegedly
disabling symptoms. Id. Second, the ALJ reviewed all
the evidence in the record and hearing testimony and
determined Plaintiff's RFC. Id. Specifically,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform the
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to lift, push, and/or pull ten pounds
frequently with a maximum weight of twenty pounds. She can
sit, stand, and/or walk for six hours of an eight-hour
workday and one to two hours without interruption. (20 CFR
404.1567(a) and 416.967(a)). The claimant is able to
occasionally stoop, crouch, kneel, and crawl. Further, the
claimant is able to work where complexity of tasks is learned
and performed by rote with few variables and little judgment;
she can understand, retain, and carry out simple
instructions; and can perform work where contact with
supervisors, co-workers, and public is superficial and
limited to meeting, greeting, making change, and to giving
simple instructions and directions.
then considered Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 20-21, Finding 6). Plaintiff and
the VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this
issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her PRW
as a cashier. (Tr. 20-21, Finding 6). Because she retained
the capacity to perform her PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from
March 25, 2014 through the date of his decision or through
October 20, 2015. (Tr. 21, Finding 7).
requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's
unfavorable decision. On December 29, 2015, the Appeals
Council denied this request. On February 25, 2016, Plaintiff
filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on March 3, 2016. ECF No. 7.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12, 14. 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 ...