United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Don Smith (“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 his 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. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this
memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment
in this matter.
protectively filed his disability applications on July 14,
2014 (DIB) and on February 8, 2016 (SSI). (Tr. 20). In these
applications, Plaintiff alleges being disabled due to
diabetes; morbid obesity; left leg edema; severe arthritis in
both knees; pins, plates, and rods in left leg and hip; and
surgery on both knees. (Tr. 199). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of November 1, 2013. (Tr. 20). His applications were
denied initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 65-89).
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
applications. (Tr. 100-101). This hearing request was
granted, and Plaintiff's hearing was held on August 24,
2016 in Alexandria, Louisiana. (Tr. 35-64). At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by Greg Giles.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Mr. Peterson testified at this hearing.
September 29, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
disability applications. (Tr. 17-34). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2018. (Tr. 22, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since November 1, 2013, his
alleged onset date. (Tr. 22, Finding 2). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: diabetes
mellitus, obesity, and osteoarthritis with chronic pain
syndrome. (Tr. 22-23, Finding 3). The ALJ also determined
that Plaintiff did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that 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. 23,
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 23-27, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff' subjective complaints and found they
were not entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following RFC:
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 the claimant is
limited to occasional climbing of ramps and stairs but no
climbing of ladders, ropes, or scaffolds and only occasional
balancing, stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling.
determined Plaintiff was thirty-nine (39) years old, which is
defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1563(c) (2008) and 20 C.F.R. § 416.963(c)
(2008), on his alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 27,
Finding 7). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had at least a high
school education and was able to communicate in English. (Tr.
27, Finding 8).
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to
perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 27, Finding 6). The ALJ also
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 27-28, Finding 10). The VE testified at the
administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Based upon that testimony, the ALJ found Plaintiff retained
the capacity to perform work as a food and beverage order
clerk (sedentary, unskilled) with 319, 400 such jobs in the
nation and document preparer (sedentary, unskilled) with 27,
600 such jobs in the nation. (Tr. 28). Based upon this
finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a
disability as defined by the Act from November 1, 2013
(alleged onset date) through October 4, 2016 (ALJ's
decision date). (Tr. 28, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On September 25,
2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for review.
(Tr. 1-3). On November 2, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint
in this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal
briefs and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court.
ECF Nos. 5, 12-13.