United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Sharp (“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 application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of
disability under Title II 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 application on December 16,
2013. (Tr. 14). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to Grave's disease, fibromyalgia, anxiety,
depression, memory problems, arthritis in her neck, severe
pain in feet and legs, numbness and tingling in her arms, hip
pain, generalized pain through the body, difficulty thinking,
two ruptured discs in her neck, and vision problems. (Tr.
222). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of September 25, 2013.
(Tr. 14). This application was denied initially and again
upon reconsideration. (Tr. 76-112).
requested an administrative hearing on December 18, 2014.
(Tr. 123). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on August 28, 2015 in Hot
Springs, Arkansas. (Tr. 32-75). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by Hans Pullen. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) William
David Elmore testified at this hearing. Id. During
this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was fifty-six (56)
years old, which is defined as a “person of advanced
age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(e) (DIB). (Tr.
36). As for her education, Plaintiff testified she had
completed high school and one year of college. (Tr. 38).
November 17, 2015, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered a fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
DIB application. (Tr. 11-26). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
met the insured status requirements of the Act through
December 31, 2018. (Tr. 16, Finding 1). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since September 25, 2013, her alleged
onset date. (Tr. 16, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
Grave's disease, degenerative disc disease of the
cervical spine, fibromyalgia, temporomandibular joint
dysfunction (“TMJ”) with low facial spasms, and
carpal tunnel syndrome. (Tr. 16-18, 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. 18-19, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 19-24, 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:
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) except the claimant can occasionally
balance, climb, stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl and can
frequently reach, grasp, handle, and finger.
her RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the
capacity to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 24, Finding 6). The
ALJ then determined whether Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 25, Finding 10). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. (Tr. 32-75).
upon this testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform the requirements of representative
occupations such as billing and posting clerk jobs
(sedentary, semiskilled) with 225, 000 such jobs in the
nation and 2, 000 such jobs in the State of Arkansas. (Tr.
25). 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 her alleged onset
date of September 25, 2013 through the ALJ's decision
date of November 17, 2015. (Tr. 25, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 7-8). On October
13, 2016, the Appeals Council denied her request for review.
(Tr. 1-4). On November 9, 2016, Plaintiff filed her Complaint
in this action. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal
briefs and have consented to the ...