United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Mazariegos (“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
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. 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 October 13,
2015. (Tr. 27). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges she
was disabled due to back problems and diabetes. (Tr. 228).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of October 13, 2015. (Tr.
27). These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 62-102).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
37-61, 118). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held
on August 25, 2016 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 37-61). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, David Harp. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Dr. Larry Sirus testified at the
hearing in this matter. Id.
November 25, 2016, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's disability applications. (Tr. 17-31). In this
decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through September 30, 2017. (Tr. 25,
Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
October 13, 2015, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 25, Finding
2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus,
degenerative disc disease of the lumbosacral spine and
bulging discs at ¶ 3-4, L4-5 and L5-S1 (20 CFR
404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)). (Tr. 25, Finding 3). Despite
being severe, the ALJ 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. 25-26, Finding 4).
determined Plaintiff had a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 30, Finding 8). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff was thirty-six (36) years old, which is
defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1563(c) (DIB) and under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI). (Tr. 30, Finding 7).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 26-30, Finding 5).
Specifically, the ALJ found Plaintiff retained 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 sedentary
work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a).
determined Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her Past
Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr. 30, Finding 6). The
ALJ, however, found Plaintiff did retain the capacity to
perform other work existing in significant numbers in the
national economy. (Tr. 31, Finding 10). In making this
determination, the ALJ applied the Medical-Vocational
Guidelines or the “Grids.” Id.
Specifically, under Rule 201.28, Plaintiff was“not
disabled.” Id. Based upon this Rule, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined in the Act, from October 13, 2015 through the date of
the decision or through November 25, 2016. (Tr. 31, Finding
requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 1-4). On October
26, 2017, the Appeals Council declined to review the
ALJ's disability determination. Id. On November
9, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The
Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on
November 21, 2017. ECF No. 7. Both Parties have filed appeal
briefs. ECF Nos. 17-18. This case is now ready for decision.