United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
KIMBERLY A. BENSON PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
A. Benson (“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 a period of
disability, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Titles II and XVI 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 applications on October 6,
2010. (Tr. 15). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges she
was disabled due to bipolar disorder with psychosis and
asthma. (Tr. 162). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of April
1, 2010. (Tr. 15). These applications were denied initially
and again on reconsideration. (Tr. 84-87).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
33-83). An administrative haring was held on February 7, 2012
in El Dorado, Arkansas. Id. At this administrative
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by Denver
Thornton. Id. Plaintiff, Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Mr. Wallace, and a witness for Plaintiff
testified at this hearing. Id. On the date of this
hearing, Plaintiff testified she was forty-five (45) years
old, which is defined as a “younger person” under
20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c) (SSI) and 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (DIB). (Tr. 38). Plaintiff also testified she had
completed the twelfth grade in school but had gone no
further. (Tr. 40).
April 4, 2012, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 12-27). In this
decision, the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2015. (Tr. 17,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since April
1, 2010, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 17, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
mood disorder NOS, personality disorder NOS, substance
addiction disorder, obesity, asthma, and chronic obstructive
pulmonary disease (COPD). (Tr. 17-19, 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. 19-21, Finding 4).
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 the full range of light work.
Additional limitations include: only occasional and no
frequent crouching, kneeling, crawling, and stooping. The
claimant would be limited to unskilled or the low end of
semiskilled work. She can understand, remember, and follow
concrete instructions; and with her medication and without
illicit drug use, she can handle superficial contact such as
meet, greet, make change, and give simple instructions and
The law requires that a claimant under age 50 be considered
for sedentary work. Therefore, in the alternative, the
claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform the
full range of sedentary work. She can perform a job while
sitting or with a sit/stand option. Additional limitations
include: only occasional and no frequent crouching, kneeling,
crawling, and stooping. The claimant would be limited to
unskilled or the low end of semi-skilled work. She can
understand, remember, and follow concrete instructions; and
with her medication and without illicit drug use, she can
handle superficial contact such as meet, greet, make change,
and give simple instructions and directions.
evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined she did not retain the
capacity to perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 25-26, Finding 6).
The ALJ did, however, determine Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 26-27, Finding 10). The
ALJ applied the Medical-Vocational Guidelines or
“Grids” in making this determination.
Id. Specifically, the ALJ determined Plaintiff was
“not disabled” under Rule 202.21 (full range of
light work) and Rule 201.28 (full range of sedentary work) of
the Grids. Id. Based upon the Grids, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined by the Act, from April 1, 2010 through the date of
her decision or through April 4, 2012. (Tr. 27, Finding 11).
Plaintiff's case was reversed and remanded by this Court.
See Benson v. SSA, 1:13-cv-01064 (ECF No. 14). This
remand was entered at the SSA's request for further
administrative development. Id. The ALJ held a
second administrative hearing (Tr. 470-505) and entered a
second fully unfavorable decision. (Tr. 446-462). In this
decision, the ALJ again found Plaintiff was not disabled.
requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 427). On March 24,
2017, the Appeals Council declined to assume jurisdiction of
this case. (Tr. 433-436). On September 29, 2017, Plaintiff
filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on September 29, 2017. ...