United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
ERIN L. SETSER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Janice Smith, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) under the provisions
of Title II of the Social Security Act (Act). In this
judicial review, the Court must determine whether there is
substantial evidence in the administrative record to support
the Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C.
protectively filed her current application for DIB on October
26, 2012, alleging an inability to work since August 17,
2012, due to heart problems, Diabetes Type II, high blood
pressure, restless leg, congestive heart failure, renal
insufficiency, sleep apnea, anemia, and thyroid problems.
(Doc. 13, pp. 75, 174). For DIB purposes, the ALJ found
Plaintiff maintained insured status through December 31,
2012. (Doc. 13, p. 25). An administrative video
hearing was held on December 19, 2013, at which Plaintiff
appeared with counsel and testified. (Doc. 13, pp. 39-68).
written decision dated September 18, 2014, the ALJ found that
through December 31, 2012, the date last insured, Plaintiff
had an impairment or combination of impairments that were
severe. (Doc. 13, p. 27). Specifically, the ALJ found that
through her date last insured, Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: coronary artery disease status
post-stenting; congestive heart failure; diabetes mellitus;
hypertension; obesity; osteoarthritis; right calcaneal spurs;
anemia; vertigo; hypothyroidism; and renal insufficiency.
However, after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the
ALJ determined that through the date last insured,
Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or equal the level
of severity of any impairment listed in the Listing of
Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P, Regulation No. 4.
(Doc. 13, p. 28). The ALJ found that through the date last
insured Plaintiff retained the residual functional capacity
perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a)
except she could only occasionally climb ramps/stairs, could
never climb ladders/ropes/scaffolds, could only occasionally
balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch, could never crawl, and had
to avoid concentrated exposure to hazards, including no
driving as part of work.
(Doc. 13, p. 29). With the help of a vocational expert, the
ALJ determined that through the date last insured, Plaintiff
could perform her past relevant work as a telephone order
clerk and a telephone sales representative. (Doc. 13, pp.
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which granted Plaintiff's request for
review on September 14, 2015. (Doc. 13, pp. 12-14). In a
decision dated October 23, 2015, the Appeals Council adopted
the ALJ's findings or conclusions regarding whether
Plaintiff was disabled. (Doc. 13, pp. 5-11). The Appeals
Counsel founds as follows:
The Administrative Law Judge's findings under steps one,
two, three, and four of the sequential evaluation; namely,
that the claimant has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since August 17, 2012, that the claimant has severe
impairments which do not meet or equal in severity an
impairment in the Listing of Impairments, and that she is
capable of performing past relevant work.
The Administrative Law Judge found that the claimant was last
insured through December 31, 2012 and determined that she was
not disabled from the alleged onset date, August 17, 2012,
through December 31, 2012 (Finding 1). However, the Appeals
Council finds that the claimant was last insured through
December 31, 2013. The Appeals Council also finds that the
claimant was not disabled from January 1, 2013 through the
date last insured, December 31, 2013.
The evidence currently of record from January 1, 2013 through
December 31, 2013 does not show a significant change in the
claimant's condition during that time. Therefore, the
Administrative Law Judge's findings are supported through
December 31, 2013. The claimant was not disabled at any time
through December 31, 2013.
(Doc. 9, pp. 8-10).
Plaintiff filed this action. (Doc. 1). This case is before
the undersigned pursuant to the consent of the parties. (Doc.
8). Both parties have filed appeal briefs, and the case is
now ready for decision. (Docs. 18, 19).
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,