United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Merrell (“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 application for Supplemental
Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the
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 his disability application on July 22,
2013. (Tr. 11, 136-141). In this application, Plaintiff
alleges he was disabled due to knee problems, heart problems,
and anxiety attacks. (Tr. 159). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of November 30, 2012. (Tr. 11). This application was
denied initially and again on reconsideration. (Tr. 51-68).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
24-50, 95). An administrative hearing was held on June 18,
2015 in Shreveport, Louisiana. (Tr. 24-50). At the
administrative hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Mr. Rousey testified
at this hearing. Id. On the date of this hearing,
Plaintiff was thirty-one (31) years old, which is defined as
a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI), and testified he had completed the eleventh
grade in high school. (Tr. 28-29).
31, 2015, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's disability application. (Tr. 8-19). In this
decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since July
22, 2013, his application date. (Tr. 13, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
“degenerative joint disease in both knees; panic
disorder with agoraphobia; generalized anxiety disorder;
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; learning
disorder.” (Tr. 13, Finding 2). The ALJ, however, also
determined Plaintiff did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that met or medically equaled one
of the listed impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P,
Appendix 1. (Tr. 13-14, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 15-18, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined they were not entirely credible.
Id. Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained
the RFC for 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 416.967(a) except the individual can occasionally
kneel, crouch, crawl and climb stairs, ramps, ladders, and
scaffolds; can understand, remember and carry out short,
simple instructions; can perform simple, routine and
repetitive tasks with no fast-paced high quota production
work; can make only simple work-related decisions; can adapt
to few if any workplace changes; and can tolerate only
occasional interaction with co-workers, supervisors, and the
(Tr. 15-18, Finding 4).
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined he had no PRW. (Tr. 18,
Finding 5). The ALJ did, however, determine Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 18-19,
Finding 9). The ALJ based this determination upon the
testimony of the VE. Id.
the VE testified that a hypothetical person with
Plaintiff's limitations retained the capacity to perform
work such as (1) addresser with 101, 000 such jobs in the
national economy; (2) document preparer with 2, 800, 000 such
jobs in the national economy; and (3) surveillance system
monitor with 79, 000 such jobs in the national economy. (Tr.
19). Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform this
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not under a
“disability, ” as defined by the Act, at any time
through the date of his decision. (Tr. 19, Finding 10).
August 14, 2015, Plaintiff requested that the Appeals Council
review the ALJ's unfavorable disability determination.
(Tr. 6). On September 14, 2016, the Appeals Council declined
to review the ALJ's disability determination. (Tr. 1-4).
On November 14, 2016, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF
No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this
Court on November 14, 2016. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have
filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12, 14. This case is now ready