United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Harrison Division
AMANDA D. MEYERS PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
D. Meyers (“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 applications for a period of
disability, Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”),
and Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Titles II and 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.
protectively filed her disability applications on December
16, 2015. (Tr. 34). In her applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to bipolar disorder, panic disorder,
generalized anxiety disorder, and borderline personality
disorder. (Tr. 266). Plaintiff alleges an onset date of
August 1, 2000. (Tr. 34). These applications were denied
initially and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 81-134).
requested an administrative hearing on her denied
applications, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
152-168). Plaintiff's administrative hearing was held on
July 20, 2017 in Harrison, Arkansas. (Tr. 49-80). At this
hearing, Plaintiff was present and was represented by
counsel, Rick Spencer. Id. Plaintiff and Vocational
Expert (“VE”) Debra Steel testified at this
hearing. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff also
testified she was thirty-six (36) years old, which is defined
as a “younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
404.1563(c) (2008). (Tr. 55).
hearing, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision on her
disability applications. (Tr. 31-48). In this decision, the
ALJ found Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of
the Act through March 31, 2017. (Tr. 37, Finding 1). The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since August 1, 2000, her
alleged onset date. (Tr. 37, Finding 2). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff had the following severe impairments: degenerative
disc disease of the lumbar spine, bipolar disorder with
depression, generalized anxiety disorder, and borderline
personality disorder. (Tr. 37, 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. 37-39, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her RFC. (Tr. 39-43, 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 the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she is limited to
performing jobs involving simple tasks and simple
instructions, and she can have only incidental contact with
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”) and found Plaintiff was unable to perform
her PRW. (Tr. 43, Finding 6). The ALJ considered
Plaintiff's ability to perform other work existing in
significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr. 43-44,
Finding 10). The VE testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. Id. Based upon this testimony,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
the following three occupations: (1) ampoule sealer
(sedentary, unskilled) with 21, 400 such jobs in the nation
and 170 such jobs in the state; (2) escort vehicle driver
(sedentary, unskilled) with 158, 845 such jobs in the nation
and 1, 665 such jobs in the state; and (3) fishing reel
assembler (sedentary, unskilled) with 24, 840 such jobs in
the nation and 365 such jobs in the state. Id. Based
upon this finding, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined by the Act, from August 1,
2000 through the date of his decision or through December 13,
2017. (Tr. 44, Finding 11).
sought review with the Appeals Council. On May 31, 2018, the
Appeals Council denied this request for review. (Tr. 1-7). On
July 5, 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,
14-15. 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 ...