United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
KAREN R. MIZE PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYAN UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
R. Mize (“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 a period of
disability and Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”) 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 her disability application on July 2,
2014. (Tr. 19). In her application, Plaintiff alleges she is
disabled due to neuropathy in her neck, depression, and
anxiety. (Tr. 240). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of August
10, 2012. (Tr. 15). This application was denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 261-276).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 138-139). This hearing request was granted,
and Plaintiff's first administrative hearing was held on
July 21, 2015. (Tr. 38-61). Thereafter, on September 22,
2016, the ALJ held a second administrative hearing. (Tr.
66-95). This hearing was held in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by counsel, Iva Nell Gibbons. Id.
Plaintiff and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Barbara
Hubbard testified at this hearing. Id.
this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision denying
her disability application. (Tr. 16-30). In this decision,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff met the insured status
requirements of the Act through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 21,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since August
10, 2012 (her alleged onset date). (Tr. 21, Finding 2). The
ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: hypertension; degenerative disc disease of the
cervical spine at ¶ 2-3 and C3-4; status/post-epidural
steroid injection (ESI); degenerative joint disease of the
lumbar spine with spondylosis at ¶ 4-5; headaches; major
depression; and anxiety. (Tr. 21, Finding 3). Despite being
severe, the ALJ 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. 22-23, Finding 4).
determined Plaintiff had a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 29, Finding 8). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff was forty-five (45) years old, which is
defined as an “younger individual” under 20
C.F.R. § 404.1563(c) (2008) on her alleged disability
onset date. (Tr. 29, Finding 7).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 23-28, 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) except she is limited to occasional
overhead reaching. She is able to perform work involving
simple tasks, simple instructions, and incidental contact
with the public.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and determined Plaintiff was unable to
perform any of her PRW. (Tr. 28-29, Finding 6). The ALJ also
considered whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy. (Tr. 29-30, 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 document preparer with 27,
000 such jobs in the nation and 260 such jobs in Arkansas;
addresser with 11, 000 such jobs in the nation and 50 such
jobs in Arkansas; and inspector/sorter/weigher jobs with 10,
000 such jobs in the nation and 120 such jobs in Arkansas.
(Tr. 30). 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 August 10,
2012 through the date of his decision or through December 13,
2016. (Tr. 30, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On October 6, 2017,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
5-8). On December 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.