United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Seas (“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 Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”), Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”), and a period of disability under
Title 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. 7. 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 September
1, 2011. (Tr. 410-422). In these applications, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to a back injury, a leg injury,
and extreme pain. (Tr. 446). Plaintiff alleges an onset date
of August 4, 2009. (Tr. 120). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 240-241).
requested an administrative hearing on December 1, 2012. (Tr.
285). This request was granted, and Plaintiff's
administrative hearing was held on May 29, 2013. (Tr.
208-239). After that hearing, the ALJ held two additional
administrative hearings. (Tr. 145-207). Thereafter, on
September 30, 2016, the ALJ entered a partially favorable
decision. (Tr. 121-137). The ALJ awarded Plaintiff disability
benefits beginning on her alleged onset date of August 4,
2009 and continued them through June 23, 2013. Id.
After that date, the ALJ found Plaintiff's disability
benefits should be discontinued. (Tr. 137, Finding 21).
the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2016. (Tr. 124,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since August
4, 2009, the date she became disabled. (Tr. 124, Finding 2).
The ALJ found that from August 4, 2009 through June 22, 2013,
the period during which the claimant was under a disability,
the claimant had the following severe impairments:
“degenerative disc disease in the lumbar spine with
radiculopathy, right shoulder impingement, chronic regional
pain syndrome, and an affective disorder.” (Tr.
124-125, Finding 3). The ALJ determined that, from August 4,
2009 through June 22, 2013, Plaintiff's impairments did
not 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. 125, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 126-129, 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, from August 4, 2009 through June 22,
2013, the claimant had the residual functional capacity to
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) and
416.967(b) except the claimant would have needed the ability
to alternate from sitting to standing for 30 minutes after
every hour of sitting. The claimant would be able to stand
for six hours, stand for two hours, and walk for two hours in
an eight-hour workday. The claimant could perform occasional
use of foot controls with the left lower extremity. The
claimant can frequently push/pull with the right,
non-dominant upper extremity. The claimant could perform
occasional overhead and all other directional reaching with
the right, non-dominant upper extremity. The claimant could
occasionally climb stairs/ramps, stoop, kneel, crouch, and
crawl. The claimant would not have been able to climb
ladders, ropes, or scaffolds. The claimant needed to avoid
working at unprotected heights, around moving machinery, and
operating a motor vehicle.
Mentally, the claimant is limited to unskilled work meaning
she is able to perform simple, routine, and repetitive tasks.
The claimant could use judgment in simple work-related
situations and make simple work-related decisions. The
claimant should have incidental contact with coworkers and
the public. However, the claimant would have missed more than
twice per month; and, she would have required frequent,
unscheduled work breaks, at will, throughout the day.
determined that Plaintiff was a “younger
individual” on her established disability onset date,
as defined in 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) and 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.965(c). (Tr. 129, Finding 6). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had at least a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 129, Finding 7).
her RFC, the ALJ determined that through August 4, 2009
through June 22, 2013, Plaintiff did not retain the capacity
to perform her Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr.
129, Finding 5). The ALJ also determined that, through that
time period, there were no jobs existing in significant
numbers in the national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr.
129-130, Finding 9). Accordingly, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff was under a disability, as defined by the Act, from
August 4, 2009 through June 22, 2013. (Tr. 130, Finding 10).
the ALJ found medical improvement occurred as of June 23,
2013. (Tr. 132, Finding 13). The ALJ found the medical
improvement that occurred as it related to her ability to
work because there was an increase in her RFC. (Tr. 133,
Finding 14). The ALJ ...