United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
CAROLYN A. OGDEN PLAINTIFF
NANCY A. BERRYHILL DEFENDANT Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration
BARRY A. BRYANT, U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
A. Ogden, ("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 Disability
Income Benefits ("DIB") and Supplemental Security
Income ("SSI") under Title 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. 5. Pursuant to this authority, the Court issues this
memorandum opinion and orders the entry of a final judgment
in this matter.
protectively filed her application for DIB and SSI on August
10, 2015. (Tr. 10). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to hypertension, diabetes, and breathing
problems. (Tr. 254). These applications were denied initially
and again upon reconsideration. (Tr. 10). Thereafter,
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing, and that
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 155-156).
administrative hearing was held on June 28, 2017. (Tr.
26-49). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present and was
represented by counsel, Greg Giles. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert ("VE") Ivory Youngblood
testified at the hearing. Id. At the time of the
hearing, Plaintiff was fifty-two (52) years old and had a
high school education. (Tr. 31-32).
the hearing, on August 29, 2017, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiffs applications for DIB
and SSI. (Tr. 10-21). In this decision, the ALJ found the
Plaintiff had last met the insured status requirements of the
Act through June 30, 2017. (Tr. 12, Finding 1). The ALJ also
found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity ("SGA") since her alleged onset date of
June 6, 2014. (Tr. 12, Finding 2).
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
hypertension, diabetes mellitus with polyneuropathy, chronic
pulmonary disease, history of renal insufficiency,
osteoarthritis of the right knee, and obesity. (Tr. 12,
Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ determined those
impairments did not meet or medically equal the requirements
of any of the Listings of Impairments in Appendix 1 to
Subpart P of Regulations No. 4 ("Listings"). (Tr.
14, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiffs subjective complaints
and determined her RFC. (Tr. 15, Finding 5). First, the ALJ
evaluated Plaintiff s subjective complaints and found her
claimed limitations were not entirely credible. Id.
Second, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the RFC to
perform light work except can stand or walk, and sit for six
hours in an eight-hour day; can climb ramps and stairs
occasionally, but never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffold;
can frequently balance, and occasionally stoop, kneel,
crouch, and crawl; and must avoid even moderate exposure to
dust, fumes, and other pulmonary irritants. Id.
then evaluated Plaintiffs Past Relevant Work
("PRW"). (Tr. 20, Finding 6). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff was not capable of performing any of her PRW.
Id. The ALJ, however, also determined there was
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 20, Finding 10). The
ALJ based this determination upon the testimony of the VE.
Id. Specifically, the VE testified that given all
Plaintiffs vocational factors, a hypothetical individual
would be able to perform the requirements of representative
occupations such as customer security clerk with
approximately 42, 750 such jobs in the nation, fountain
server with approximately 157, 349 such jobs in the nation,
and bottle packer with approximately 342, 070 such jobs in
the nation. Id. Based upon this finding, the ALJ
determined Plaintiff had not been under a disability, as
defined in the Act, from her onset date of June 6, 2014
through the date of the decision. (Tr. 21, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's decision. (Tr. 203-204). The Appeals Council denied
this request for review. (Tr. 1-6). On April 27, 2018,
Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECFNo. 1. Both Parties
have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 10, 11. This case is now
ready for decision.
well-established that a claimant for Social Security
disability benefits has the burden of proving his or her
disability by establishing a physical or mental disability
that lasted at least one year and that prevents him or her
from engaging in any substantial gainful activity. See
Cox v. Apfel, 160 F.3d 1203, 1206 (8th Cir. 1998); 42
U.S.C. §§ 423(d)(1)(A), 1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act
defines a "physical or mental impairment" as
"an impairment that results from anatomical,
physiological, or psychological abnormalities which are
demonstrable by medically acceptable clinical and laboratory
diagnostic techniques." 42 U.S.C. §§
423(d)(3), 1382(3)(c). A plaintiff must show that his or her
disability, not simply his or her impairment, has lasted for
at least twelve consecutive months. See 42 U.S.C.
determine whether the adult claimant suffers from a
disability, the Commissioner uses the familiar five-step
sequential evaluation. He determines: (1) whether the
claimant is presently engaged in a "substantial gainful
activity"; (2) whether the claimant has a severe
impairment that significantly limits the claimant's
physical or mental ability to perform basic work activities;
(3) whether the claimant has an impairment that meets or
equals a presumptively disabling impairment listed in the
regulations (if so, the claimant is disabled without regard
to age, education, and work experience); (4) whether the
claimant has the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to
perform his or her past relevant work; and (5) if the
claimant cannot perform the past work, the burden shifts to
the Commissioner to prove that there are other jobs in the
national economy that the claimant can perform. See
Cox, 160 F.3d at 1206; 20 C.F.R ...