United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
ERIN L. WIEDEMANN, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Tammy Scott, brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of a decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration
(Commissioner) denying her claims for a period of disability
and disability insurance benefits (DIB) and supplemental
security income (SSI) benefits under the provisions of Titles
II and XVI of the Social Security Act (Act). In this judicial
review, the Court must determine whether there is substantial
evidence in the administrative record to support the
Commissioner's decision. See 42 U.S.C. §
protectively filed her applications for DIB and SSI on
January 23, 2013, alleging an inability to work since June
15, 2008, due to an adjustment disorder, obsessive compulsive
disorder, dependent personality disorder, and psychosis. (Tr.
298). An administrative hearing was held on August 15, 2014,
at which Plaintiff appeared with counsel and testified. A
friend of Plaintiff's also testified, as did a vocational
expert. (Tr. 84-115).
written decision dated December 22, 2014, the ALJ found that
during the relevant time period, Plaintiff had an impairment
or combination of impairments that were severe. Specifically,
the ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
major depressive disorder, severe; generalized anxiety
disorder; and borderline personality disorder. (Tr. 68).
after reviewing all of the evidence presented, the ALJ
determined that Plaintiff's impairments did not meet or
equal the level of severity of any impairment listed in the
Listing of Impairments found in Appendix I, Subpart P,
Regulation No. 4. (Tr. 69). The ALJ found Plaintiff retained
the residual functional capacity (RFC) to:
Perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: She is limited
to work where interpersonal contact is incidental to the work
performed; complexity of tasks is learned and performed by
rote, with few variables, requiring little judgment; and
supervision required is direct, simple, and concrete.
the help of a vocational expert, the ALJ determined Plaintiff
could perform her past relevant work as an
inspector/packager, as well as other jobs, such as
housekeeper, machine tender-one, and inspector. (Tr. 77-78).
then requested a review of the hearing decision by the
Appeals Council, which, after considering additional evidence
submitted by the Plaintiff, denied that request on March 22,
2016. (Tr. 1-4). Subsequently, Plaintiff filed this action.
(Doc. 1). This case is before the undersigned pursuant to the
consent of the parties. (Doc. 5). Both parties have filed
appeal briefs, and the case is now ready for decision. (Docs.
Court has reviewed the entire transcript. The complete set of
facts and arguments are presented in the parties' briefs,
and are repeated here only to the extent necessary.
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Ramirez v.
Barnhart, 292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. The ALJ's decision must be
affirmed if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Edwards v. Barnhart, 314 F.3d 964, 966
(8th Cir. 2003). 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. Haley v. Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747
(8th Cir. 2001). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ must be
affirmed. Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065, 1068 (8th
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving her disability
by establishing a physical or mental disability that has
lasted at least one year and that prevents her from engaging
in any substantial gainful activity. Pearsall v.
Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001); see
also 42 U.S.C. § § 423(d)(1)(A),
1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act defines “physical or mental
impairment” as “an impairment that results from
anatomical, physiological, or psychological abnormalities
which are demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and
laboratory diagnostic ...