United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Beck (“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. 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 November 7,
2013. (Tr. 26). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled from a neck and back injury due to a car accident.
(Tr. 180). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of May 3, 2013.
(Tr. 26). Her application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 78-96).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 103-104). This hearing request was granted,
and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
October 16, 2015 in Shreveport, Louisiana. Id. At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Mr. Rousey testified at this hearing.
January 4, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's DIB
application. (Tr. 23-32). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through December
31, 2017. (Tr. 28, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) from her alleged onset date of May 3,
2013. (Tr. 28, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: cervical radiculopathy,
mild cervical disc bulges, Chiari malformation, degenerative
disc disease of the lumbar spine, and mild carpal tunnel
syndrome. (Tr. 28, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined that
Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that 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. 28-29,
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 29-31, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff' subjective complaints and found they
were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following RFC:
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 sit/stand option.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 32, Finding 6). Considering this
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW as a counter clerk, light. Id. Based
upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability (as defined by the Act) from May 3, 2013
through the date of her decision or through January 7, 2016.
(Tr. 32, Finding 7).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 18-22). On
January 24, 2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for
review. (Tr. 1-3). On March 23, 2017, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed
appeal briefs and have consented to the jurisdiction of this
Court. ECF Nos. 5, 13-14. This case is now ready for
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 ...