United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Michelle Lee (“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 Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of 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. 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 SSI application on March 30, 2012.
(Tr. 12). In her application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to bipolar disorder, lower back pain, and
anemia. (Tr. 189). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March
1, 2012. (Tr. 12). This application was denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 81-94).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 127 128). The ALJ granted that request and
held an administrative hearing on February 4, 2014 in
Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 28-80). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by David Graham. Id.
Plaintiff, Medical Expert (“ME”) Dr. Jan Maxwell,
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Dr. Donald Anderson
testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing,
Plaintiff testified she was thirty-nine (39) years old, which
is defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c) (SSI). (Tr. 42). As for her level of
education, Plaintiff testified she had completed the eleventh
grade in high school. Id.
this hearing, on October 31, 2014, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
SSI. (Tr. 8-21). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since March 30, 2012, her application
date. (Tr. 14, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: mood disorder (beginning
February 5, 2013), arthritis in her right knee, lumbar disc
disease, and anemia. (Tr. 14, Finding 2). 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. 14-16, Finding 3).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 16-20, Finding 4). 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, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to lift and carry 10 pounds occasionally
and less than 10 pounds frequently, due to arthritis and
anemia. She is able to stand and walk for 2 hours during
8-hour workday. The claimant is able to push and pull
occasionally. She is able to operate foot controls
occasionally. She is able to climb stairs occasionally, but
never scaffolds, ladders, or ropes. She is able to crouch,
balance, kneel, crawl, stoop and squat occasionally. She
cannot be exposed to unprotected heights, moving machinery,
extreme temperature changes, uneven terrain, vibration,
cutting instruments or commercial driving. She will required
[require] a stand and sit option for 3 minutes every hour to
stretch and stand, but not to leave the work area or
The claimant is able to perform simple, routine, and
repetitive tasks, due to mood disorder. She is able to
respond appropriately to supervisors. She is able to have
casual conversations with co-workers, but is unable to work
in a team. She can work with objects rather than with people.
She cannot be exposed to the general public. She is able to
use judgment appropriately. She is able to maintain the
concentration persistence and pace during an eight-hour
workday. She can tolerate routine changes in a work setting.
20 CFR 416.967(a)
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff had no PRW. (Tr. 20,
Finding 5). The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 20-21,
Finding 9). 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) assembler (sedentary, unskilled) with 600
such jobs in Arkansas and 55, 000 such jobs in the nation;
(2) folder (sedentary, unskilled) with 2, 000 such jobs in
Arkansas and 52, 000 such jobs in the nation; and (3) sorter
(sedentary, unskilled) with 700 such jobs in Arkansas and 56,
000 such jobs in the nation. (Tr. 21). 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 March 30, 2012 (application date)
through October 31, 2014 (ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 21,
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. On
February 17, 2016, the Appeals Council denied this request.
(Tr. 1-3). On April 7, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present
appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on April 18, 2016. ECF No. 7.
Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 13-14. This
case is now ripe for determination.