United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fort Smith Division
ASHLEY N. WILLIAMS PLAINTIFF
NANCY BERRYHILL Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
brings this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking
judicial review of a decision of the Commissioner of Social
Security Administration (“Commissioner”) denying
her claim for supplemental security income
(“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security
Act (hereinafter “the Act”), 42 U.S.C. §
1382. In this judicial review, the court must determine
whether there is substantial evidence in the administrative
record to support the Commissioner's decision.
see 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
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 application for SSI on
November 21, 2012. (Tr. 275). In her application, Plaintiff
alleges being disabled due to sweaty hands. (Tr. 147).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of November 21, 2012.
Id. This application was denied initially and again
upon reconsideration. (Tr. 51-67).
Plaintiff requested an administrative hearing on her denied
application, and this hearing request was granted. (Tr.
79-81). Plaintiff's initial administrative hearing was
held on September 13, 2013. (Tr. 24-50). After this hearing,
on April 8, 2014, the ALJ entered an unfavorable decision
denying Plaintiff's applications for SSI. (Tr. 9-23).
Plaintiff appealed this decision and on September 20, 2016,
this Court remanded the case ordering the Commissioner to
conduct a proper credibility analysis, to develop the record
regarding Plaintiff's hyperhidrosis impairment, and to
clarify whether the ALJ incorporated Plaintiff's
borderline intellectual functioning into Plaintiff's RFC.
remand, Plaintiff had a second administrative hearing on
February 21, 2017. (Tr. 292-323). Plaintiff was present and
was represented by her attorney, Matthew Ketcham.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Deborah Steele testified at this hearing.
Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff testified she was
twenty-five (25) years old, which is defined as a
“younger person” under 20 C.F.R. §
416.963(c). (Tr. 295). As for her level of education,
Plaintiff reported she completed the tenth grade. (Tr. 296).
this hearing, on March 30, 2018, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's applications for
SSI. (Tr. 275-287). In this decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff
had not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) since November 21, 2012, her application
date. (Tr. 277, Finding 1). The ALJ determined Plaintiff had
the following severe impairments: anxiety, depression, and
sweaty hands. (Tr. 277, Finding 2). Despite being severe, the
ALJ determined these 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. 278, Finding 3).
then considered Plaintiff's Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 280-285, Finding 4). 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 frequently finger and handle
bilaterally; is limited to simple, routine repetitive tasks
in a setting where interpersonal contact is incidental to the
work performed; and can respond to supervision that is
simple, direct, and concrete. Id.
determined Plaintiff had no Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 286, Finding 5). The ALJ, however,
also determined there was other work existing in significant
numbers in the national economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr.
286, Finding 9). The ALJ based this determination upon the
testimony of the VE. (Tr. 490-493). Specifically, the VE
testified that given all Plaintiff's vocational factors,
a hypothetical individual would be able to perform the
requirements of representative occupations such as
housekeeping with approximately 380, 000 such jobs in the
nation, injection molding machine tender with approximately
40, 000 such jobs in the nation, and courier with
approximately 116, 000 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, since
November 21, 2012. (Tr. 287, Finding 10).
30, 2018, Plaintiff filed the present appeal with this Court.
ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to the jurisdiction of this
Court on July 31, 2018. ECF No. 7. Both parties have filed
appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 16, 17. This case is now ready for
court's role is to determine whether substantial evidence
supports the Commissioner's findings. Vossen v.
Astrue, 612 F.3d 1011, 1015 (8th Cir. 2010). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance but it is enough that a
reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the
Commissioner's decision. Teague v. Astrue, 638
F.3d 611, 614 (8th Cir. 2011). We must affirm the ALJ's
decision if the record contains substantial evidence to
support it. Blackburn v. Colvin, 761 F.3d 853, 858
(8th Cir. 2014). 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. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477
(8th Cir. 2015). In other words, if after reviewing the
record it is possible to draw two inconsistent positions from
the evidence and one of those positions represents the
findings of the ALJ, we must affirm the ALJ's decision.
claimant for Social Security disability benefits has the
burden of proving his disability by establishing a physical
or mental disability that has lasted at least one year and
that prevents him from engaging in any substantial gainful
activity. Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217
(8th Cir. 2001); see also 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(A). The Act defines “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 ...