United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Delise Bridges (“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 a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) 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. 8. 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 27,
2012. (Tr. 18, 137-140). In this application, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to diabetes, legal blindness in
her right eye, and problems with her left eye. (Tr. 178).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 27, 2012 but
later amended that onset date to October 7, 2013. (Tr. 18).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 63-77).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, and that
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 37-62, 90-91).
Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on January
22, 2015 in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 37-62). At this
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Daniel Webb. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Mr. Thomas testified at the hearing.
August 4, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's DIB application. (Tr. 15-26). In this
decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 20,
Finding 10). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
October 7, 2013, her amended alleged onset date. (Tr. 20,
Finding 2). The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: brittle diabetes and proliferative diabetic eye
disease. (Tr. 20, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ
determined those 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. 21, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ also evaluated Plaintiff's age and
education level. Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff was
forty-eight (48) years old on her amended alleged onset date.
(Tr. 24, Finding 7). At this age, she was characterized as a
“younger individual” pursuant to 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c). Id. The ALJ also determined Plaintiff
reached fifty (50) years old before the date of the ALJ's
decision. Id. Such a person is characterized as a
“person closely approaching advanced age” under
20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d). Id. As for her
education, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had a high school
education, completed several years in college, and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 24, Finding 8).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 21-24, 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 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 light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except that she cannot climb ropes, ladders,
or scaffolds; she must avoid hazards such as unprotected
heights and dangerous moving machinery; and she cannot drive
motorized vehicles as part of the job. She has monocular
vision with no vision in the right eye, cannot work in a
position that requires depth perception, is required to wear
safety glasses to protect the left eye, and can have only
occasional work with computers or other bright screens.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 24, Finding 6). Considering her
limitations, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retained
the capacity to perform her PRW as a library assistant or as
an office manager. (Tr. 24, Finding 6). The ALJ, however,
also evaluated whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 25, Finding 10). Specifically, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform light,
unskilled jobs such as laundry worker with 306, 000 such jobs
in the national economy and hand packager with 57, 000 such
jobs in the national economy. Id. Because Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform this other work, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined in the Act, from December 27, 2012 through the date
of her decision or through August 4, 2015. (Tr. 25, Finding
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's decision. (Tr. 12). On July 29, 2016, the Appeals
Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-3). On
September 27, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF
No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 14-15.
This case is now ready for decision.