United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
EDDY L. WOOD PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Wood (“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 applications for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”), 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. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on January 3,
2012 (DIB) and on January 5, 2012 (SSI). (Tr. 9). In his
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
insulin-dependent diabetes, arthritis in both knees,
neuropathy in hands and feet, and congestive heart failure.
(Tr. 535). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 30,
2011. (Tr. 9). These applications were denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 65-69).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. (Tr. 80-81). The ALJ granted that request and
held an administrative hearing on February 14, 2013 in Fort
Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 30-64). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by Iva Nell Gibbons. Id.
Plaintiff and a Vocational Expert (“VE”)
testified at this hearing. Id. At this hearing,
Plaintiff testified he was forty-four (44) 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(e) (SSI). (Tr. 36). As for his level of education,
Plaintiff testified he had completed the twelfth grade in
high school. Id.
this hearing, on April 4, 2013, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's disability
applications. (Tr. 6-17). In this decision, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirements
under Title II of the Act as of December 30, 2011 (his
alleged onset date) and continued to meet them through April
4, 2013 (date of the ALJ's decision). (Tr. 11, Findings
1-2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
December 30, 2011, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 11, Finding
3). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: essential hypertension, diabetes mellitus with
peripheral neuropathy, congestive heart failure, degenerative
joint disease, and obesity. (Tr. 11, Finding 4). 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. 11-12,
considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 12-15, Finding 6). 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 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).
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff was unable to perform
his PRW. (Tr. 15, Finding 7). The ALJ also considered whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
16, Finding 12). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id.
upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform occupations such as the following
(sedentary, unskilled): (1) assembler (bench hand watch and
clock) with 27, 802 such jobs nationwide and 510 such jobs
statewide; and (2) machine tender (eye glass frame polisher)
with 19, 806 such jobs nationwide and 252 such jobs
statewide. (Tr. 16). 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
December 30, 2011 through the date of his decision or through
April 4, 2013. (Tr. 16, Finding 13).
Plaintiff requested a review by the Appeals Council. (Tr.
27). On May 13, 2014, the Appeals Council denied this
request. (Tr. 1-3). Plaintiff subsequently appealed that
unfavorable decision, and his case was reversed and remanded.
(Tr. 410-421). Thereafter, the ALJ held a second
administrative hearing. (Tr. 360-388). After that hearing,
the ALJ again entered an unfavorable decision. (Tr. 333-351).
Plaintiff filed this second and current appeal on July 18,
2016. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of
this Court on July 19, 2016. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have
filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10, 12. This case is now ripe