United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, El Dorado Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Elaine Huntley (“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 DIB application on July 7, 2015. (Tr.
30). In her application, she alleges being disabled due to
bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, reflect sympathetic
dystrophy syndrome, back injury, and migraines. (Tr. 234).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of May 10, 2006. (Tr. 26).
This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 93-127).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
130-168). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
February 14, 2017 in El Dorado, Arkansas. (Tr. 43-88). At
this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Mr. Rushing. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Donald Rue testified at this
hearing. Id. At the administrative hearing in this
matter, Plaintiff testified she had a high school education.
(Tr. 50). Plaintiff also testified she was fifty-three years
old, which is defined as a “person closely approaching
advanced age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d)
(2008). (Tr. 49).
this hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on her
disability application. (Tr. 23-40). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff would last met the insured status
requirements of the Act on December 31, 2020. (Tr. 28,
Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had not engaged in
Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
February 7, 2014, her amended alleged onset date. (Tr. 28,
Finding 2). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had the following
severe impairments: bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome, lumbar
and cervical degenerative disc disease, right shoulder
impingement, status-post left ankle fracture, lower extremity
venous insufficiency, and hypertension. (Tr. 28-30, 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. 30-31, Finding
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 31-34, 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 tha the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) except she can frequently use the upper
extremities to grasp, finger, and feel.
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 35, Finding 6). The VE testified at
the administrative hearing regarding this issue. Id.
Considering this testimony and Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform her PRW
as a personal attendant. Id. Based upon this
finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been under a
disability, as defined by the Act, from February 7, 2014
through the date of his decision or through August 18, 2017.
(Tr. 35, Finding 7).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On May 4, 2018, the
Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-6). On
June 25, 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 No. 7,
13-14. This case is now ready for determination.
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 ...