United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
CRYSTAL A. SCOTT PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
A. Scott (“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. 6. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
filed her disability applications on May 9, 2013. (Tr. 60).
In her applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
bulging discs in her lower back with spurs, depression,
degenerative disc disease, major migraines, blood pressure
problems, knee problems, memory problems, and anxiety. (Tr.
272). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 23, 2010.
applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 81-94).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications. The ALJ granted that request and held an
administrative hearing on August 28, 2014 in Fort Smith,
Arkansas. (Tr. 76-118). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by Matthew Ketcham. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Deborah
Steele testified at this hearing. Id. At this
hearing, Plaintiff testified she was thirty-five (35) years
old, which is defined as a “younger person” under
20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI). (Tr. 83-84). As for her level of education,
Plaintiff testified she completed high school and
“about 2 ½ years of college.” (Tr. 84).
this hearing, on January 16, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
SSI and DIB. (Tr. 56-71). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2015. (Tr. 62, Finding 1). The ALJ found
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since February 10, 2012, her amended
alleged onset date. (Tr. 62, Finding 2). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
musculoskeletal disorders (back disorder, osteoarthritis, and
related disorders); obesity; hypertension; somatoform pain
disorder; dependent personality traits; and depression
secondary to medical conditions. (Tr. 62-63, Finding 3).
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. 63-65,
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 65-69, 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 RFC 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 as follows: The
claimant can frequently lift and/or carry less than ten
pounds and occasionally ten pounds, sit for a total of six
hours in an eight hour workday, and stand and/or walk for a
total of at least two hours in an eight hour workday. The
claimant can occasionally climb ramps or stairs. She cannot
climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant can
occasionally balance, crouch, or crawl. The claimant is able
to work where interpersonal contact is routine but
superficial, the complexity of tasks is learned by experience
and the supervision is little for routine tasks, but detailed
for non-routine tasks. The claimant must use an assistive
device for prolonged ambulation.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff is unable to perform
her PRW. (Tr. 69, Finding 6). The ALJ also considered whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
70-71, Finding 10). 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) credit card clerk (sedentary,
semi-skilled) with 360, 600 such jobs in the United States
and 3, 200 such jobs in Arkansas; (2) order clerk (sedentary,
semi-skilled) with 77, 770 such jobs in the United States and
460 such jobs in Arkansas; and (3) information clerk
(sedentary, semi-skilled) with 610, 300 such jobs in the
United States and 4, 200 such jobs in Arkansas. (Tr. 70).
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 February 10, 2012
through the date of his decision or through January 16, 2015.
(Tr. 71, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr.
52). On March 22, 2016, the Appeals Council denied this
request. (Tr. 1-3). On April 19, 2016, Plaintiff filed the
present appeal with this Court. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on April 21,
2016. ECF No. 6. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF
Nos. 14-15. This case is now ripe for determination.