United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
MERANDA M. SMITH PLAINTIFF
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
Procedures for filing Objections:
Recommended Disposition (“Recommendation”) has
been sent to District Judge Susan Webber Wright. You may file
written objections to this Recommendation. If you file
objections, they must be specific and must include the
factual or legal basis for your objection.
objections must be received in the office of the United
States District Court Clerk within fourteen (14) days of this
objections are filed, Judge Wright can adopt this
Recommendation without independently reviewing the record. By
not objecting, you may also waive any right to appeal
questions of fact.
Meranda M. Smith (“Smith”), applied for
disability benefits on February 8, 2016, alleging disability
beginning on October 20, 2013. (Tr. at 18). After conducting a
hearing, the Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
denied her application. (Tr. at 30). The Appeals Council
denied her request for review. (Tr. at 1). The ALJ's
decision now stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner, and Smith has requested judicial review.
reasons stated below, this Court should affirm the decision
of the Commissioner.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Smith had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since the alleged onset date of February 1, 2016.
(Tr. at 22). The ALJ found, at Step Two of the sequential
five-step analysis, that Smith had the following severe
impairments: degenerative disc disease of the lumbar spine
with bulging disc at ¶ 3-L4 and L5-S1, fibromyalgia,
anxiety, and depression. Id.
Three, the ALJ determined that Smith's impairments did
not meet or equal a listed impairment. Id. Before
proceeding to Step Four, the ALJ determined that Smith had
the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to
perform light work with restrictions: 1) she is limited to
work involving simple tasks and simple instructions, where
there is only incidental contact with the public; and 2) she
cannot work where there is exposure to unprotected heights,
dangerous machinery, or driving. (Tr. at 24).
found that Smith was unable to perform any past relevant
work. (Tr. at 28). Next, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a
Vocational Expert ("VE") to find that, considering
Smith's age, education, work experience and RFC, jobs
existed in significant numbers in the national economy that
she could perform, such as can filling and closing machine
tender and collator operator. (Tr. at 29). Therefore, the ALJ
found that Smith was not disabled. Id.
Standard of Review
Court's role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence. Prosch v. Apfel,201 F.3d 1010, 1012 (8th
Cir. 2000). “Substantial evidence-in this context means
less than a preponderance but more than a scintilla.
Slusser v. Astrue,557 F.3d 923, 925 (8th Cir.
2009). In other words, it is “enough that a reasonable
mind would find it adequate to support the ALJ's
decision.” Id. (citation omitted). The Court
must consider not only evidence that supports the
Commissioner's decision, but also evidence that supports
a contrary outcome. The Court cannot reverse the decision,
however, “merely ...