United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Haymon (“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. 8. 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 December 9,
2011. (Tr. 23). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to stomach ulcers, pain in his joints, back
problems, and rectal bleeding. (Tr. 147). Plaintiff alleges
an onset date of May 23, 2011. (Tr. 331). Plaintiff's
application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 73-74). Plaintiff requested an
administrative hearing; and after that hearing,
Plaintiff's disability application was denied. (Tr. 20-
34). Plaintiff appealed that denial to this Court, and the
Court reversed and remanded Plaintiff's case for further
administrative consideration. (Tr. 434).
the ALJ held a second administrative hearing on July 11, 2016
in Texarkana, Arkansas. (Tr. 346-357). At that hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Donna
Price. Id. Only Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Juanita Grant testified at this hearing.
August 25, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's SSI application. (Tr. 328-340). In
this decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged
in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
December 9, 2011, his application date. (Tr. 333, Finding 1).
The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
schizoaffective disorder, obesity, hypertension, and
osteoarthritis. (Tr. 333, Finding 2). 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. 333-334, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ also evaluated Plaintiff's age and
education level. (Tr. 339, Findings 6-7). Specifically, the
ALJ found Plaintiff was born on December 4, 1959 and was
fifty-two (52) years old on his application date. (Tr. 339,
Finding 6). At this age, he was characterized as a
“person closely approaching advanced age” under
20 C.F.R. § 416.963(d) (2008). (Tr. 339, Finding 6). As
for his education, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had at least
a high school education was able to communicate in English.
(Tr. 339, Finding 7).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 335-339, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his 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 416.967(b) except he can only occasionally perform
postural activities; can follow simple one-two-three step
instructions; can no more than occasionally interact with the
public and co-workers; and cannot meet strict production
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 339, Finding 5). Considering his
limitations, the ALJ determined Plaintiff could not perform
his PRW as a production worker and as a construction worker.
Id. The ALJ, however, also evaluated whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
339-340, Finding 9). Specifically, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform the following
occupations: blending tech helper with 55, 600 such jobs in
the national economy and scaling machine operator with 62,
570 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 9, 2011 (application
date) through October 23, 2014 (date the ALJ determined
Plaintiff was disabled on a prior application). (Tr. 340,
Finding 10). On November 22, 2016, Plaintiff filed the
present appeal. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal
briefs. ECF Nos. 12-13. 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) (2010); 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 support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). 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. See Haley v.
Massanari,258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to ...