United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Barker (“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 his application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
Act. The 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.
application for SSI was filed on March 30, 2010. (Tr. 11).
Plaintiff alleged he was disabled due to hypertension,
seizures, kidney failure, and back problems. (Tr. 62).
Plaintiff alleged an onset date of December 23, 2010. (Tr.
11). This application was denied initially and again upon
April 5, 2012, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision denying
Plaintiff's application for SSI. (Tr. 11-21). On March
14, 2014, pursuant to sentence four of 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), the District Court remanded the case to the
Commissioner to reconsider Plaintiff's RFC and on May 23,
2014 the Appeals Council remanded the case to the ALJ. (Tr.
second administrative hearing was held on February 3, 2015.
(Tr. 292-304). Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Matthew Ketcham, at this hearing. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Montie
Lumpkin testified at this hearing. Id. At the time
of this hearing, Plaintiff was fifty-one (51) years old and
had a high school education. (Tr. 224-230).
August 13, 2015, the ALJ entered a partially unfavorable
decision. (Tr. 274-281). In this decision, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since his alleged onset date. (Tr. 276,
also determined that since December 23, 2010, Plaintiff had
the severe impairments of disorder of the spine,
hypertension, diabetes mellitus with neuropathy, and plantar
calluses. (Tr. 276, Finding 2). The ALJ then determined that
since December 23, 2010, Plaintiff's impairments did not
meet or medically equal the requirements of any of the
Listing of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of
Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 276, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 277-279). First, the
ALJ indicated he evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
that since December 23, 2010 Plaintiff retained the RFC to
perform sedentary work, except he was limited to occasionally
climbing ramps, stairs, ladders, ropes, scaffolds, balancing,
stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling; no more than
occasional operation of foot controls; and could perform
frequent grasping and handling bilaterally. (Tr. 277, Finding
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 279, Finding 5). The ALJ found that
since December 23, 2010 Plaintiff was unable to perform his
PRW. Id. The ALJ also found that prior to May 26,
2013, the date Plaintiff's age category changed,
considering Plaintiff' age, education, work experience,
and RFC, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers
in the national economy that Plaintiff could have performed
(Tr. 280, Finding 9).
then found beginning May 26, 2013, the date Plaintiff's
age category changed, considering Plaintiff' age,
education, work experience, and RFC, there were no jobs that
existed in significant numbers in the national economy that
Plaintiff could have performed. (Tr. 281, Finding 10). As a
result, the ALJ found Plaintiff not disabled prior to May 26,
2013, but became disabled on that date and continued to be
disabled through August 13, 2015, the date of the decision.
(Tr. 281, Finding 11).
October 20, 2015, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No.
1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court.
ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos.
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) (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. SeeHaley v. Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir.
2001). If, after reviewing the record, it is possible to draw