United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Cato (“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 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. 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 disability applications on May 9,
2013. (Tr. 10). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to bladder mesh problems with multiple
surgeries, mental anxiety, diabetes, gout, and plantar
fasciitis. (Tr. 246). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
April 30, 2013. (Tr. 10). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 66-121).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications. (Tr. 138-141). This request was granted, and
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on June 30,
2014 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 27-65). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Susan
Brockett. Id. Plaintiff and a Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Deborah Steele testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
thirty-eight (38) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c). (Tr. 30). As for
her education, Plaintiff testified she graduated high school
and attended some college. (Tr. 30).
February 25, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 7-22). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through December
31, 2017. (Tr. 12, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since April 30, 2013, her alleged onset
date. (Tr. 12, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff has
the following severe impairments: diabetes mellitus, back
disorder, bladder disorder, affective disorder, anxiety
disorder, and personality disorder. (Tr. 12-13, Finding 3).
The ALJ also determined Plaintiff's 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. 13-14,
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 14-20, 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 capacity to perform the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she can only
occasionally climb, balance, stoop, kneel, crouch and crawl.
In addition, she can perform simple, routine and repetitive
tasks in a setting where interpersonal contact is incidental
to the work performed. She requires supervision that is
simple, direct, and concrete.
her RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 20-21, Finding 6).
The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 21-22, Finding 10). The
VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this
issue. (Tr. 27-65). Based upon that testimony, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the
requirements of representative sedentary occupations such as
the following: (1) inspector/checker with 160 such jobs in
Arkansas and 13, 600 such jobs in the national economy; (2)
check weigher with 164 such jobs in Arkansas and 13, 646 such
jobs in the national economy; and (3) and shoe buckler/lacer
with 170 such jobs in Arkansas and 36, 000 such jobs in the
national economy. (Tr. 21). Because Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from
April 30, 2013 through the date of his decision or through
February 25, 2015. (Tr. 22, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 5). On March 25,
2016, the Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr.
1-3). On April 5, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint in this
case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and
have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 5,
13-14. 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) (2010); 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 ...