United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Belk (“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 Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”), and 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.
protectively filed his disability applications on January 28,
2013. (Tr. 12). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to respiratory problems and a cut
windpipe. (Tr. 203). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
August 15, 2004. (Tr. 12). His applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 67-110).
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. (Tr. 134-135). This hearing request was
granted, and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held
on June 13, 2014 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 9-24). At this
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Dr. Anderson testified at this hearing.
Id. During this hearing, Plaintiff testified he was
forty-five (45) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (DIB) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.965(c) (SSI). (Tr.
33). As for his education, Plaintiff testified he graduated
from high school but never received additional education.
11, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a
fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 9-24). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through December
31, 2008. (Tr. 15, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since August 15, 2004, his alleged onset
date. (Tr. 15, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: chronic pulmonary
insufficiency, limited visual acuity, and other unspecified
arthropathies. (Tr. 15-18, 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. 18, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 18-22, Finding 5).
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:
Giving claimant the benefit of the doubt, I find that he has
the ability to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) [lift and/or carry 10
pounds occasionally and less than 10 pounds frequently]. He
can stand and/or walk for about two hours in an eight-hour
workday, but sit up to six hours in an eight-hour workday. He
is not limited in pushing and/or pulling with his upper or
lower extremities. The claimant's vision is reduced by
limited near acuity that requires avoiding work that involves
reading print smaller than found in newsprint. He has no
other exertional limitations.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found he had no PRW he could perform.
(Tr. 22, Finding 6). The ALJ then considered whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
23-24, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id.
upon this testimony and considering his RFC, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the
following light occupations: (1) folder with 52, 00 such jobs
in the nation and 1, 300 such jobs in Arkansas; (2) assembler
with 54, 000 such jobs in the nation and 600 such jobs in
Arkansas; and (3) buckler/lacer with 52, 000 such jobs in the
nation and 1, 000 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, at any time from August 15, 2004
through the date of his decision or through June 11, 2015.
(Tr. 23, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On June 23, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On
August 24, 2016, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this case.
ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs and have
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF Nos. 6, 9,
11. This case is now ready for determination.