United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
SHAWN E. BLANCHARD PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Commissioner Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
E. Blanchard (“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 decision of the Commissioner of
the Social Security Administration (“SSA”)
denying his application for Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI 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.
23, 2014, Plaintiff protectively filed his application. (Tr.
171, 189). In his application, Plaintiff alleges he was
disabled due to ADHD with an onset date of January 1, 2014.
(Tr. 193). The claim was denied initially on July 24, 2014,
and again upon reconsideration on March 25, 2015. (Tr. 107,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on his
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr. 117,
132). An administrative hearing was held on December 3, 2015,
in Fort Smith, Arkansas. (Tr. 37). At the administrative
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Lawrence Fitting. (Tr.37-82). Plaintiff, Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Monti Lumpkin, and Plaintiff's
grandfather, Elijah Burkhart, testified at this hearing.
Id. On the date of this hearing, Plaintiff testified
he was twenty (20) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20. C.F.R. §
416.963(c) (SSI), and testified he had completed the ninth
grade in school. (Tr. 47-49).
February 23, 2017, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on
Plaintiff's application. (Tr. 24-31). In this decision,
the ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial
Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since June 23, 2014, the
initial application date. (Tr. 26, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, specific learning
disorder, dysthymic disorder/persistent depressive disorder,
and generalized anxiety disorder. (Tr. 26, Finding 2). The
ALJ, however, also 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. 26-28, Finding 3).
decision, the ALJ evaluated the Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 28-30, Finding 4).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined they were only partially consistent
with the evidence. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff returned the RFC for the following:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform a full range of work at all
exertional levels, but with the following nonexertional
limitations: is able to perform work where interpersonal
contact with coworkers and supervisors is incidental to work
performed and there is no contact with the public, where the
complexity of tasks is learned and performed by rote, with
few variables and little use of judgment, where the
supervision required is simple, direct, and concrete.
found Plaintiff had no Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 30, Finding 5). The ALJ did,
however, determine Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy, specifically that of a hand packager, conveyor
feeder offbearer, power screw driver operator, can filling
machine tender, toy stuffer, or tile table worker. (Tr. 32,
Finding 9). The ALJ based this determination upon the
testimony of the Vocational Expert. (Tr. 30-31, Finding 9).
requested that the Appeals Council's review the ALJ's
unfavorable disability determination. (Tr. 1). Plaintiff
submitted additional medical evidence to the Appeals Council,
none of which was considered by the Appeals Council. (Tr.
1-4, 10-20). On November 14, 2017, the Appeals Council
declined to review the ALJ's disability determination.
(Tr. 1-4). On December 19, 2017, Plaintiff filed the present
appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction
of this Court on December 21, 2017. ECF No. 7. Both Parties
have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 15-16. This case is now
ready for decision.
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) (2006); 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 ...