United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
KIMBERLY BICKHAM, on behalf of DAVID BICKHAM, Deceased PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Bickham, on behalf of David Bickham (“Plaintiff”)
brings this action pursuant to § 205(g) of Title II of
the Social Security Act (“The Act”), 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) (2006), seeking judicial review of a final
decision of the Commissioner of the Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denying his application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a
period of disability 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.
Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this memorandum
opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment in this
filed his application for DIB on June 4, 2012. (Tr. 101-104).
Plaintiff alleged he was disabled due to diabetes mellitus,
neuropathy, kidney failure, dementia, high blood pressure,
chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, osteoarthritis,
calcaneal spur, anemia, fatigue, edema, nosebleeds, attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder, and cataracts. (Tr. 163).
Plaintiff alleged an onset date of June 2, 2012. (Tr. 947).
Plaintiff's application was denied initially and at the
reconsideration level. (Tr. 45-49). Thereafter, Plaintiff
requested an administrative hearing on his application. (Tr.
held a hearing on November 6, 2013, and issued an unfavorable
decision on December 18, 2013, which Plaintiff appealed. (Tr.
6-19, 25-44). On December 21, 2015, this Court remanded the
case back to the ALJ for another hearing. (Tr. 1008-1015).
remand, Plaintiff had a second hearing which was held on
September 20, 2016. (Tr. 992-1005). Plaintiff was present and
was represented by his attorney, Greg Giles, at this hearing.
See Id. Plaintiff testified at this hearing. See
id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff was
sixty-four (64) years old, and had a twelfth grade education.
October 19, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's application for DIB. (Tr. 947-956).
In this decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the
insured status requirements of the Act through December 31,
2017. (Tr. 949, Finding 1). The ALJ then determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since June 2, 2012. (Tr. 949, Finding 2).
also determined Plaintiff had the severe impairments of
hypertension, diabetes with neuropathy, chronic kidney
disease stage III, cataracts, and gastroesophageal reflux
disease. (Tr. 949, Finding 3). The ALJ determined, however,
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or a combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled one of the listed
impairments in the Listing of Impairments in Appendix 1 to
Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 (“Listings”). (Tr.
951, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 952-955). First, the
ALJ indicated evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints
pursuant to the requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 404.1529 and
20 C.F.R. § 416.929 and found his claimed limitations
were not totally credible. (Tr. 953). Second, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the RFC for the full range of
light work. (Tr. 952, Finding 5).
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff capable of performing
his PRW as a poultry machine tender. (Tr. 955, Finding 6).
Based on this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined by the Act, at any time
from June 2, 2012, through the date of the decision. (Tr.
955, Finding 7).
October 31, 2016, Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council
review the ALJ's unfavorable decision. (Tr. 1076-1077).
See 20 C.F.R. § 404.968. On March 22, 2017, the
Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's unfavorable
decision. (Tr. 938-943). On July 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed the
present appeal. ECF No. 1. The parties consented to the
jurisdiction of this Court on July 6, 2017. ECF No. 5. Both
parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 9, 10. This case
is now ready for decision.
well established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a “physical or mental impairment” as
“an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382(3)(c). A plaintiff must show that his or her
disability, not simply his or her impairment, has lasted for
at least twelve consecutive months. See 42 U.S.C.
determine whether the adult claimant suffers from a
disability, the Commissioner uses the familiar five-step
sequential evaluation. He determines: (1) whether the
claimant is presently engaged in a “substantial gainful
activity”; (2) whether the claimant has a severe
impairment that significantly limits the claimant's
physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities;
(3) whether the claimant has an impairment that meets or
equals a presumptively disabling impairment listed in the
regulations (if so, the claimant is disabled without regard
to age, education, and work experience); (4) whether the
claimant has the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to
perform his or her past relevant work; and (5) if the
claimant cannot perform the past work, the burden shifts to
the Commissioner to prove that there are other jobs in the
national economy that the claimant can perform. See
Cox, 160 F.3d at 1206; 20 C.F.R. ...