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Green v. Berryhill

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

June 12, 2018

YOLANDA GREEN PLAINTIFF
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

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

         Yolanda Green (“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 applications for Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”), Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), and a period of disability under Titles II and XVI 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.[1] 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 April 3, 2014. (Tr. 16). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges she is disabled due to lupus, fluid in her lungs, rapid heart rate, shortness of breath, physical discomfort, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and swelling. (Tr. 242). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of December 28, 2012. (Tr. 16). These applications were denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 70-106).

         Thereafter, Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 35-69). An administrative hearing was held on April 7, 2016 in McAlester, Oklahoma. Id. At the administrative hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Diana Kaiser testified at this hearing. Id.

         On May 3, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 13-28). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 18, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since December 28, 2012. (Tr. 18, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: lupus; hypertension; diabetes mellitus, type II; and obesity. (Tr. 19-20, Finding 3). 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. 20-21, Finding 4).

         In this decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 21-26, Finding 5). 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 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she can occasionally climb of ramps and stairs; she can never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; she can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, or crawling [crawl]; and she must be allowed to alternate between sitting and standing every 15-20 minutes through the workday for the purpose of changing positions but without leaving the workstation.

Id.

         The ALJ determined Plaintiff was forty (40) years old, which is defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (DIB). (Tr. 27, Finding 7). The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr. 27, Finding 8).

         The ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work (“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 26, Finding 6). The ALJ did, however, determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 27-28, Finding 10). Specifically, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform unskilled, sedentary work as an (1) order clerk with 40, 000 such jobs in the national economy; and (2) call out operator with 21, 000 such jobs in the national economy. (Tr. 27). Furthermore, the ALJ determined Plaintiff also retained the capacity to perform her past job as a customer service representative. Id. Accordingly, based upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from December 28, 2012 through the date of the ALJ's decision or through May 6, 2016. (Tr. 28, Finding 11).

         Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's unfavorable disability determination. (Tr.1). On June 23, 2017, the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's disability determination. (Tr. 1-3). On August 3, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on August 3, 2017. ECF No. 5. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 11-12. This case is now ready for decision.

         2. Ap ...


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