United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Olson (“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 a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) 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 June 14,
2013 (DIB) and on July 25, 2013 (SSI). (Tr. 21). In these
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to a heart
condition, depression, GERD, scoliosis, and arthritis in her
lower spine. (Tr. 201). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
February 1, 2011. (Tr. 21). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 69-98).
requested an administrative hearing on December 30, 2013.
(Tr. 122). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on September 12, 2014 in El
Dorado, Arkansas. (Tr. 42-68). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by William Prince. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Stephanie
Ford testified at this hearing. Id. During this
hearing, Plaintiff testified she was forty-three (43) years
old, which is defined as a “younger person” under
20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.963(c)(2008) (SSI). (Tr. 48). As for her
education, Plaintiff testified she had completed the eleventh
grade in high school. (Tr. 48).
April 15, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 18-34). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through March 31,
2013. (Tr. 23, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since February 1, 2011, her alleged onset
day. (Tr. 23, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: degenerative disc disease
of the lumbar spine, obesity, COPD, and bipolar disorder.
(Tr. 23-24, 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. 24-26, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 26-32, 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:
The claimant retains the residual functional capacity to lift
and carry 10 pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds
frequently; stand and/or walk two hours in an eight-hour
workday; sit in 20 to 30 minute intervals for six hours in an
eight-hour workday; and push and/or pull 10 pounds
occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently. Furthermore,
she retains the mental ability to understand, remember, and
carry out simple job instructions; make judgments in simple
work-related situations; respond appropriately to
co-workers/supervisors with occasional incidental contact
that is not necessary to perform the work; respond
appropriately to minor changes in the usual work routine; and
must have no dealings with the general public.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 32, Finding 6). The
ALJ then considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 32-33, Finding 10). The VE testified
at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
Id. Based upon this testimony and considering her
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW as (1) a document preparer (unskilled) with
8, 900 such jobs in Arkansas and 89, 000 such jobs
nationwide; and (2) a compact assembler (unskilled) with 8,
800 such jobs in Arkansas and 85, 000 such jobs nationwide.
Id. 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 February
1, 2011 through the date of the ALJ's decision or through
April 15, 2015. (Tr. 33, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On June 10, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied her request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On
July 13, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in her case. ECF
No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 5,
11-12. 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 ...