United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
PROPOSED FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDED
VOLPE UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
recommended disposition has been submitted to Chief United
States District Judge Brian S. Miller. The parties may file
specific objections to these findings and recommendations and
must provide the factual or legal basis for each objection.
The objections must be filed with the Clerk no later than
fourteen (14) days from the date of the findings and
recommendations. A copy must be served on the opposing party.
The district judge, even in the absence of objections, may
reject these proposed findings and recommendations in whole
or in part.
Wendy Ellen Bayless, has appealed the final decision of the
Commissioner of the Social Security Administration to deny
her claim for disability insurance benefits and supplemental
security income. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) concluded
Plaintiff had not been under a disability within the meaning
of the Social Security Act, because jobs existed that
Plaintiff could perform despite her impairments. (Tr. 17-27.)
review function is extremely limited. A court's function
on review is to determine whether the Commissioner's
decision is supported by substantial evidence on the record
as a whole and to analyze whether Plaintiff was denied
benefits due to legal error. Long v. Chater, 108
F.3d 185, 187 (8th Cir. 1997); see also, 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g). Substantial evidence is such relevant evidence
as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Richardson v. Perales, 402 U.S. 389, 401
(1971); Reynolds v. Chater, 82 F.3d 254, 257 (8th
assessing the substantiality of the evidence, courts must
consider evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's
decision as well as evidence that supports it; a court may
not, however, reverse the Commissioner's decision merely
because substantial evidence would have supported an opposite
decision. Woolf v. Shalala, 3 F.3d 1210, 1213 (8th
history of the administrative proceedings and the statement
of facts relevant to this decision are contained in the
respective briefs and are not in serious dispute. Therefore,
they will not be repeated in this opinion except as
necessary. After careful review of the pleadings and evidence
in this case, I find the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence and recommend
Plaintiff's Complaint be DISMISSED.
was fifty-six years old at the administrative hearing. (Tr.
35.) She testified she went as far as the twelfth grade in
school but says her “education level was around the
fourth grade.” (Id.) Although she says her
education level was limited, she also testified she was not
enrolled in special education classes. (Tr. 36.) Ms. Bayless
has no past relevant work. (Tr. 25, 39.)
found Ms. Bayless had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since June 1, 2014 - the alleged onset date. (Tr.
19.) She has “severe” impairments in the form of
“possible borderline intellectual functioning,
depression and anxiety.” (Id.) The ALJ further
found Ms. Bayless did not have an impairment or combination
of impairments meeting or equaling an impairment listed in 20
C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 20-21.)
determined Ms. Bayless had the residual functional capacity
to perform “work at all exertional levels except she is
limited to unskilled work involving superficial interpersonal
contact.” (Tr. 21.) Because Ms. Bayless has no past
relevant work, the ALJ utilized the services of a vocational
expert to determine if other jobs existed in significant
numbers that Plaintiff could perform despite her impairments.
(Tr. 54-56.) With the assistance of the vocational expert,
the ALJ concluded Plaintiff could perform the jobs of poultry
icer, machine packager, and stamper. (Tr. 26.) Accordingly,
the ALJ determined Ms. Bayless was not disabled. (Tr. 26-27.)
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for a review
of the ALJ's decision, making his decision the final
decision of the Commissioner. (Tr. 1-3.) Plaintiff filed the
instant Complaint initiating this appeal. (Doc. No. 2.)
support of her Complaint, Plaintiff argues the ALJ's
residual functional capacity assessment was flawed. (Doc. No.
10 at 5-10.) Ms. Bayless raises several points in advancing
her argument, but this case really rests on whether the ALJ
correctly analyzed her abilities based on her activities of
daily living. The ALJ's decision is largely based on the
fact Mr. Bayless is the caregiver of her elderly mother. (Tr.
24-25.) The ALJ concluded:
The claimant's activities of daily living and adaptive
functioning do not support a finding of disability. The
claimant lives with family and appears to essentially
maintain the household in regard to preparing meals and
performing household chores. She manages herself as well as
providing care to her elderly mother who reportedly has some
degree of dementia. The claimant's described activities