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Haynes v. Berryhill

United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division

April 2, 2018

ROSIE B. HAYNES PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          AMENDED MEMORANDUM OPINION [1]

          HON. BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         Rosie B. Haynes (“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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title II of the Act.

         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.

         1. Background:

         Plaintiff protectively filed her disability applications on June 29, 2011. (Tr. 105). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to glaucoma, a skin condition, and anemia. (Tr. 287). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2001. (Tr. 105). Her applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 100-101).

         Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, and this hearing request was granted. In fact, Plaintiff had three administrative hearings. Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was held on August 3, 2012. (Tr. 91-99). After that hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on August 12, 2012. (Tr. 102-111). After this decision was entered, the Appeals Council entered an order directing the ALJ to further develop the record and consider a psychological assessment dated August 27, 2012. (Tr. 116-119). Her second administrative hearing was held on August 4, 2014. (Tr. 85-90). During that hearing, the ALJ found the record had not been properly developed and ordered a consultative examination. Id.

         After this examination had been completed, Plaintiff's third administrative hearing was held on November 12, 2015 in Shreveport, Louisiana. (Tr. 42-58). At this third hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles. (Tr. 42-58). Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Juanita Grant testified at this hearing. Id.

         Subsequent to this hearing, the ALJ entered a second hearing decision. (Tr. 15-34). This decision was partially favorable and awarded Plaintiff disability benefits as of December 17, 2015. (Tr. 33, Finding 11). However, prior to this date, the ALJ found Plaintiff was not disabled. (Tr. 15-34). Specifically, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since her alleged onset date. (Tr. 22, Finding 1). The ALJ determined that since her application date of June 29, 2011, she had the following severe impairments: hypertension, obesity, depression, anxiety, and borderline intellectual functioning. (Tr. 22, Finding 2). The ALJ also determined that since her application date of June 29, 2011, she did not have an impairment or impairments that met or medically equaled the requirements of any of the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr. 22-25, Finding 3).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 25-32, Finding 4). 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 since the application date, June 29, 2011, the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except she can understand, remember, and carry out no more than one, two, or three step instructions. She cannot have strict production quotas. She is limited to occasional contact with the general public and coworkers.

Id.

         Considering her RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had been unable to perform any of her Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) since her application date of June 29, 2011. (Tr. 32, Finding 5). The ALJ determined that prior to her established disability onset date, she was individual closely approaching advanced age. (Tr. 32, Finding 6). As of December 17, 2015, the ALJ determined Plaintiff's age category changed to an individual of advanced age. (Tr. 32, Finding 6). As for her education, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had a limited education was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 32, Finding 7).

         The ALJ then considered whether there was other work existing in the national economy that Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 32-33, Finding 9). The Vocational Expert (“VE”) testified at the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined that prior to December 17, 2015, there were jobs that existed in significant numbers that Plaintiff could have performed. (Tr. 32-33, Finding 9). Representative occupations included: (1) housekeeper (light, unskilled) with 929, 540 such jobs in the nation; (2) laundry worker (light, unskilled) with 929, 540 such jobs in the nation; and (3) garment sorter (light, unskilled) with 217, 500 such jobs in the nation. Id. Based upon that testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was not disabled prior to December 17, 2015. Id.

         However, beginning on December 17, 2015, the date her age category changed, the ALJ determined there were no jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 33, Finding 10). Thus, as of December 17, 2015, the ALJ found Plaintiff was disabled. Id. On March 18, 2016, Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of ...


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