United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Patrice Maxfield (“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 application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
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. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this
memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment
in this matter.
filed her application for DIB on September 23, 2014. (Tr.
20). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being disabled
due to stress, blood pressure, headaches, chronic back pain,
type II diabetes, and chronic right-hand pain. (Tr. 217).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of March 15, 2012. (Tr. 20).
Her application was denied initially and again upon
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 100-101). This hearing request was granted,
and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
October 4, 2016. (Tr. 35-62). At this hearing, Plaintiff was
present and was represented by counsel, Matthew Golden.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Dale Thomas testified at this hearing.
November 15, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
disability application. (Tr. 20-29). In this decision, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status requirements
of the Act through December 31, 2019. (Tr. 22, Finding 1).
The ALJ also determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since March
15, 2012, the alleged onset date. (Tr. 22, Finding2).
then determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure
(CHF), chronic headaches, chronic kidney disease (CKD),
degenerative disc disease. (Tr. 22, Finding 3). The ALJ also
determined 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, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her 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 RFC to perform light work with
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 27, Finding 6). Considering her
RFC, the ALJ determined Plaintiff did not retain the capacity
to perform her PRW. Id. The ALJ then determined
whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
27, Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Specifically, the
VE testified Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform work
as a bench assembler with 108, 000 such jobs nationally, hand
packager with 57, 000 such jobs nationally, patcher with 6,
800 such jobs nationally, touch-up screener with 8, 500 such
jobs nationally, and charge account clerk with 32, 000 such
jobs nationally. Id. Based upon this finding, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability from
March 15, 2012 through the date of the ALJ's decision.
(Tr. 28, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On November 15, 2017,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
1-6). On March 8, 2018, Plaintiff filed a Complaint in this
case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed appeal briefs. ECF
Nos. 21, 22. This case is now ready for determination.
reviewing this case, this Court is required to determine
whether the Commissioner's findings are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. See
42 U.S.C. § 405(g) (2010); Ramirez v. Barnhart,
292 F.3d 576, 583 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance of the evidence, but it is enough
that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. See Johnson v. Apfel,
240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir. 2001). As long as there is
substantial evidence in the record that supports the
Commissioner's decision, the Court may not reverse it
simply because substantial evidence exists in the record that
would have supported a contrary outcome or because the Court
would have decided the case differently. See Haley v.
Massanari, 258 F.3d 742, 747 (8th Cir. 2001). If, after
reviewing the record, it is possible to draw two inconsistent
positions from the evidence and one of those positions
represents the findings of the ALJ, the decision of the ALJ
must be affirmed. See Young v. Apfel, 221 F.3d 1065,
1068 (8th Cir. 2000).
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a “physical or mental impairment” as
“an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques.” 42 U.S.C. §§