United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
BRIDGET G. COLLINS PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration  DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Collins (“Plaintiff”) brings this action under 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denying her claim for a
period of disability and supplemental security income
(“SSI”) benefits under Title XVI of the Social
Security Act (“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.
protectively filed her disability application for SSI on
April 19, 2013. (ECF No. 10, p. 16). In her application,
Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to back injury, knee
misalignment, arthritis, anxiety and panic attacks,
depression, racing heart, sleep apnea, falling asleep while
driving, digestive problems, acid reflux, swollen ankles and
legs, and degenerative disc disease. (ECF No. 10, p. 199).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 1, 2012. (ECF No.
10, pp. 16, 195). This application was denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 10, pp. 65-97).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
10, pp.113-15). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on August 27, 2014, in Harrison, Arkansas. (ECF No. 10,
pp. 32-64). Plaintiff was present at this hearing and was
represented by Evelyn Brooks. Id. Plaintiff and
Vocational Expert (“VE”) Sarah Moore testified at
this hearing. Id. At the time of this hearing,
Plaintiff was thirty-eight (38) years old, which is defined
as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c). (ECF No. 10, p. 36). As for her level of
education, Plaintiff has Associate's degrees in the
fields of accounting, business management, and business
administration. (ECF No. 10, pp. 36-37).
this hearing, on January 6, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
SSI. (ECF No. 10, pp. 13-27). In this decision, the ALJ found
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since April 19, 2013, her application
date. (ECF No. 10, p. 18, Finding 1). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
Musculoskeletal Disorders (Back Disorder, lumbar degenerative
disc disease) (7240) and (Osteoarthritis and Allied
Disorders, bilateral knees, left patella chondromalacia)
(7150/7160); Special/Other Disorders (Obesity) (2780);
Cardiovascular Disorders (Cardiac Dysrhythmias, palpitations)
(4270) and (Hypertension) (4010); Respiratory Disorders
(Asthma with recurrent bronchitis) (4910); and Mental
Disorders (Mood/Affective Disorders, major depressive
disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder)
(ECF No. 10, pp. 18-19, 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 Part 404
(“Listings”). (ECF No. 10, pp. 19-21, Finding 3).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 10, pp. 21-25, 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:
sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 416.967(a)
except as follows: [Plaintiff] cannot climb, kneel, crouch,
or crawl. [Plaintiff] can occasionally balance and stoop.
[Plaintiff] must avoid all concentrated exposure to
temperature extremes and humidity. [Plaintiff] must avoid
even moderate exposure to fumes, odors, dusts, gasses, and
poor ventilation. [Plaintiff] must avoid even moderate
exposure to workplace hazards and cannot drive as part of
work. [Plaintiff] is able to perform work where interpersonal
contact is routine but superficial, where the complexity of
tasks is learned by experience, with several variables and
use of judgment within limits, and where the supervision
required is little for routine tasks but detailed for
Id. at 25.
then determined Plaintiff had no Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (ECF No. 10, p, 26, Finding 5). The VE
testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
(ECF No. 10, pp. 58-63). Based on Plaintiff's age,
education, work experience, and RFC, the ALJ determined there
were jobs existing in significant numbers in the national
economy Plaintiff could perform, such as a clerk, which has a
DOT code of 249.587-018, with approximately sixty thousand
eight hundred (60, 800) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately four hundred fifty-seven (457) jobs in the
regional economy, as an assembler, which has a DOT code of
726.684-110, with approximately nineteen thousand seven
hundred (19, 700) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately two hundred seventeen (217) jobs in the
regional economy, and as a machine tender, which has a DOT
code of 713.684-038, with approximately fifteen thousand one
hundred (15, 100) jobs in the national economy, and
approximately one hundred seventy-five (175) jobs in the
regional economy. (ECF No. 10, pp. 26-27, Finding 9). Because
jobs exist in significant numbers in the national economy
which Plaintiff can perform, the ALJ also determined
Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the
Act, from April 19, 2013, through January 6, 2015, the date
of the ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 10, p. 27, Finding 10).
on March 8, 2015, Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals
Council. (ECF No. 10, p. 9). The Appeals Council denied this
request on April 20, 2016. (ECF No. 10, pp. 5-8). On June 17,
2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court.
(ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the ...