United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
June Heath (“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. 8. Pursuant to this authority, the Court
issues this memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a
final judgment in this matter.
protectively filed her DIB application on March 25, 2015.
(Tr. 24). In her application, she alleges being disabled due
to degenerative joint disease and fibromyalgia. (Tr. 187).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of July 1, 2011. (Tr. 24).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 78-98).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application. (Tr. 109-110). This hearing request was granted,
and Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
January 23, 2017 in Shreveport, Louisiana. (Tr. 40-77). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, David Graham. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Mr. Thomas testified at this
this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on her
disability application. (Tr. 21-35). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff last met the insured status requirements
of the Act on December 31, 2015. (Tr. 26, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff did not engage in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) during the period from her
alleged onset date of July 1, 2011 through her date last
insured of December 31, 2015. (Tr. 26, Finding 2). The ALJ
determined that, through her date last insured, Plaintiff had
the following severe combination of impairments: degenerative
joint disease of the bilateral hips, osteoarthritis,
fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, status post hysterectomy
due to ovarian cancer, and mood disorder. (Tr. 26-27, 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. 27-29, Finding
determined Plaintiff had a high school education and was able
to communicate in English. (Tr. 34, Finding 8). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff was fifty-two (52) years old, which is
defined as a “person closely approaching advanced
age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d) (2008), on her
alleged disability onset date. (Tr. 34, Finding 7).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 29-33, 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, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). Therefore, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to lift/carry
20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand/walk
for 6 hours during an 8-hour workday, and sit intermittently
during the remaining time. However, claimant can use her
upper extremities frequently, but not constantly, to reach,
handle, finger and feel; can only occasionally stoop, crouch,
crawl, and kneel; cannot climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds;
can only occasionally climb stairs and ramps; is unable to
balance on narrow or moving surfaces, but is able to balance
occasionally on level surfaces; cannot work in proximity to
unprotected heights and dangerous moving machinery; can use
foot controls only occasionally; can understand, remember and
carry out only short, simple instructions; can perform only
simple, routine tasks with no fast-paced, high quota
production work; can make only simple work related decisions;
can adapt to few, if any, workplace changes, and can tolerate
only occasional interaction with co-workers, supervisors, and
the general public.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”); and determined, through her date last
insured, Plaintiff was unable to perform any of her PRW. (Tr.
33, Finding 6). The ALJ also considered whether Plaintiff
retained the capacity to perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 34-35,
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 housekeeper/cleaner with approximately 306, 000 such
jobs nationally and as a bottling line attendant with
approximately 57, 000 such jobs nationally. Id.
Based upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not
been under a disability, as defined by the Act, at any time
from July 1, 2011 (alleged onset date) through December 31,
2015 (her date last insured). (Tr. 35, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On December 11, 2017,
the Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr.
5-8). On January 29, 2018, 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. 8, 13-14. This case is now ready for determination.