United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Wilcox (“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
supplemental security income (“SSI”) 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
December 11, 2012. (ECF No. 10, pp. 663, 829). In her
application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to: a
learning disability and frozen shoulder. (ECF No. 10, p.
833). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 1, 2012.
(ECF No. 10, pp. 663, 829). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (ECF No. 10, pp.
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (ECF No.
10, pp. 787-91). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was
held on May 15, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas. (ECF No. 10,
pp. 679-700). Plaintiff was present via video teleconference
and was represented by Nicholas Coleman. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) David
Dellmore testified. Id. At the time of this hearing,
Plaintiff was twenty-eight (28) years old, which is defined
as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c). As for her level of education, Plaintiff earned a
high school diploma. (ECF No. 10, p. 834).
this hearing, on August 7, 2015, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
SSI. (ECF No. 10, pp. 660-74). In this decision, the ALJ
found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since December 11, 2012, her
application date. (ECF No. 10, p. 665, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairment:
borderline intellectual functioning. (ECF No. 10, p. 665-67,
Finding 2). Despite being severe, the ALJ 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 Part 404 (“Listings”).
(ECF No. 10, pp. 667-69, Finding 3).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (ECF No. 10, pp. 669-72, 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:
light work as defined in 20 C.F.R. 416.967(b) except [she] is
capable of lifting and carrying no more than twenty pounds at
a time with frequent lifting and carrying of up to 10 pounds.
Further, [she] can perform activities that require a good
deal of standing or walking, up to six hours in an eight-hour
workday. Moreover, [she] can never work at unprotected
heights, around moving or dangerous machinery, or drive a
vehicle. Additionally, [she] can never perform frequent
overhead reaching with [her] left upper extremity.
Furthermore, [she] is limited to performing unskilled work,
which is work where interpersonal contact is incidental to
the work performed, the complexity of tasks is learned and
performed by rote, involves few variables, requires little
independent judgment, and the supervision required is simple,
direct and concrete. Finally, [she] cannot perform any work
requiring the taking of orders or making of change, such as a
waitress or cashier.
then determined Plaintiff had no Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (ECF No. 10, p. 672, Finding 5). The VE
testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue.
(ECF No. 10, pp. 695-99). 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 cleaner
(housekeeping), which has a DOT code of 323.687-014, with
approximately four hundred thousand (400, 000) jobs in the
national economy and four thousand (4, 000) jobs in Arkansas,
and as a document preparer, which has a DOT code of
249.587-018, with approximately sixty thousand (60, 000) jobs
in the national economy and five hundred (500) jobs in
Arkansas. (ECF No. 10, pp. 672-73, 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
December 11, 2012, through September 4, 2014, the date of the
ALJ's decision. (ECF No. 10, p. 673, Finding 10).
on November 3, 2014, Plaintiff requested review of the
hearing decision by the Appeals Council. (ECF No. 10, pp.
656-59). The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
on January 16, 2016. (ECF No. 10, pp. 5-11). On March 18,
2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court.
(ECF No. 1). The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of
this Court on March 23, 2016. (ECF No. 6). 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) (2006); 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 ...