United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
SALLIE E. SMITH PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION OF THE UNITED STATES
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
E. 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 her application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of
disability under Title II of the Act.
to the provisions of 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1) and (3)
(2009), the Honorable Robert T. Dawson referred this case to
this Court for the purpose of making a report and
recommendation. In accordance with that referral, and after
reviewing the arguments in this case, this Court recommends
Plaintiff's case be REVERSED AND
protectively filed her DIB application on March 31, 2015.
(Tr. 26). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to nerve damage, headaches, vertigo, and
syncope. (Tr. 288). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of July
14, 2014. (Tr. 26). Her application was denied initially and
again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 175-182).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
131-174). Plaintiff's hearing was held on May 26, 2016 in
Little Rock, Arkansas. Id. At this hearing,
Plaintiff was present and was represented by Donald Chaney.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Diane Smith testified at this hearing.
September 22, 2016, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's DIB
application. (Tr. 23-39). The ALJ determined Plaintiff met
the insured status requirements of the Act through December
31, 2020. (Tr. 28, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since July 14, 2014, her alleged onset
date. (Tr. 28, Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: peripheral neuropathy, left
shoulder bursitis, migraines, and depression. (Tr. 28,
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. 28, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 30-36, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff's 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 light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) with the following additional limitations.
She can occasionally reach overhead bilaterally; she can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs, balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl; she can never climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. She must avoid hazards such as unprotected heights
and moving mechanical parts. She must avoid pulmonary
irritants such as dust, odors, fumes, chemical fumes, and
bleaches. She must avoid extreme heat and cold in the
workplace. Mentally, she is limited to unskilled work,
defined as able to understand, retain, and carry out simple
instructions. She can make simple, work-related decisions.
Interpersonal contacts must be incidental to the work
performed; and, supervision must be simple, direct, and
(Tr. 30-36, Finding 5).
determined Plaintiff was forty-five (45) years old, which is
defined as a “younger individual” under 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1563(c) (2008), on her alleged disability onset
date. (Tr. 37, Finding 7). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
at least a high school education and was able to communicate
in English. (Tr. 37, Finding 8).
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff was unable to perform
any of her PRW. (Tr. 37, Finding 6). The ALJ also considered
whether Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
37-38, 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 marking clerk (light, unskilled) with over
51, 000 such jobs in the nation; small parts packer (light,
unskilled) with over 200, 000 such jobs in the nation; table
worker (sedentary, unskilled) with over 9, 300 such jobs in
the nation; and cutter or paster (sedentary, unskilled) with
over 5, 400 such jobs in the nation. Id. Based upon
this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under
a disability, as defined by the Act, from July 14, 2014
(alleged onset date) through September 22, 2016 (ALJ's
decision date). (Tr. 38, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. (Tr. 5-8). On
November 1, 2017, the Appeals Council denied this request for
review. Id. On January 4, 2018, Plaintiff filed a
Complaint in this case. ECF No. 1. Both Parties have filed
appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 12-13.