United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
BARRY A. BRYANT, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Elizabeth Lee (“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 deceased husband Steve Allen
Lee's application for Disability Insurance
Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of disability under
Title II 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 his disability application on September
18, 2015. (Tr. 18). In his application, Plaintiff alleges he
is disabled due to an on-the-job injury to his lower back,
shoulder, and neck. (Tr. 199). Plaintiff alleges an onset
date of July 28, 2015. (Tr. 18). This application was denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 80-101).
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
application. (Tr. 110-111). This hearing request was granted,
and Plaintiff's hearing was held on August 30, 2016 in
Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 32-79). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by counsel, Iva Neil Gibbons.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Dr. Deborah Steele testified at this
this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying
his disability application. (Tr. 15-31). In this decision,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2019. (Tr. 20,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since July
28, 2015, his alleged onset date. (Tr. 20, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: thoracic and lumbar degenerative disc disease;
and residuals of a remote left shoulder injury. (Tr. 20,
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. 20-21, Finding 4).
determined Plaintiff had a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 25, Finding 8). The ALJ also
determined Plaintiff was fifty-three (53) years old, which is
defined as an “person closely approaching advanced
age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d) (2008) on his
alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 25, Finding 7).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 21-24, 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, I find that
the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except he is able
to perform occasional overhead reaching with his left arm.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to
perform any of his PRW. (Tr. 25, Finding 6). The ALJ also
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 25-26, 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 case aide (semi-skilled)
with 136, 980 such jobs in the nation; membership solicitor
(semi-skilled) with 147, 980 such jobs in the nation; and
telephone bill collector (semi-skilled) with 114, 130 such
jobs in the nation. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform this other work, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from July
28, 2015 through the date of his decision or through November
3, 2016. (Tr. 26, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On September 8, 2017,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
1-7). On November 1, 2017, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in
this matter. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs
and have consented to the jurisdiction of this Court. ECF
Nos. 7, 12-13. This case is now ready for determination.