United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Grantham (“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 his 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. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this
memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment
in this matter.
protectively filed his SSI application on March 13, 2013.
(Tr. 12, 140-141). In this application, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to COPD, generalized weakness, and asthma.
(Tr. 159). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of November 1,
2011. (Tr. 12). This application was denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 53-67).
requested an administrative hearing on his application. (Tr.
93-95). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on July 8, 2014 in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. (Tr. 28-52). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by counsel, Shannon Muse
Carroll. Id. Plaintiff, Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Mach Welch, and a witness for Plaintiff
testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing,
Plaintiff testified he was forty-one (41) years old, which is
defined as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c). (Tr. 32). As for his education, Plaintiff
testified he had graduated from high school. (Tr. 32).
January 26, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 9-23). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”)
since March 13, 2013, his application date. (Tr. 14, Finding
1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff has the following severe
impairments: organic mental disorder, goiter, COPD,
patellofemoral degenerative joint disease, lateral patellar
subluxation, and obesity. (Tr. 14-15, Finding 2). 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. 15-17, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 17-21, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his 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 416.967(a) except no exposure to respiratory irritants
such as dust, fumes, and gasses; is limited to work where
interpersonal contact is limited (i.e. work requiring little
interaction such as answering simple questions, responding
appropriately to supervisors and coworkers, and interaction
with the public is infrequent and not considered essential to
the job); supervision required is simple, direct and
concrete; and judgment within limits with few variables.
his RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 21-22, Finding 5).
The ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 22-23, Finding 9). The
VE testified at the administrative hearing regarding this
issue. (Tr. 22-23). Based upon that testimony, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the
requirements of representative occupations such as table
worker (sedentary, unskilled) with 454, 010 such jobs in the
nation and 5, 980 such jobs in Arkansas. (Tr. 23). Because
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this other work,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability,
as defined by the Act, from March 13, 2013 (application date)
through January 26, 2015 (ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 23,
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 4). On April 5,
2016, the Appeals Council denied his request for review. (Tr.
1-3). On May 2, 2016, Plaintiff filed his Complaint in this
case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and
have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 8,
12-14. 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 ...