United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Ann Phillips (“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, Disability Insurance Benefits
(“DIB”), and Supplemental Security Income
(“SSI”) 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. 8. 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 April 8,
2016. (Tr. 19). In these applications, Plaintiff alleges
being disabled due to high blood pressure, shoulder and
stomach issues, GERD, and borderline diabetes. (Tr. 282).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of January 1, 2010. (Tr. 19).
These applications were denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 97-100).
Plaintiff's applications were denied, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing on these applications, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 41-70). On November 29,
2017, the SSA held an administrative hearing in Little Rock,
Arkansas. Id. At this hearing, Plaintiff was present
and was represented by Hans Pullen. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) Diane Smith
testified at this hearing. Id.
12, 2018, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a
fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
applications. (Tr. 16-40). The ALJ found Plaintiff met the
insured status requirements of the Act through June 30, 2021.
(Tr. 21, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had not engaged
in Substantial Gainful Activity (“SGA”) since
January 1, 2010, her alleged onset date. (Tr. 21, Finding 2).
The ALJ found Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
major depressive disorder; obesity; bilateral shoulder
arthritis; cervical spine degenerative disc disease;
gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux disease
(“GERD”); and a history of peptic ulcers. (Tr.
22, Finding 3). Despite being severe, the ALJ also 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. 22-25, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 25-32, Finding 5). Specifically,
the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the following RFC:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except she can occasionally
reach overhead bilaterally; can frequently handle, finger,
and feel bilaterally; and can occasionally stoop and crouch.
She is limited to work involving simple, routine, and
repetitive tasks. She can make simple work-related decisions.
She can perform work where interpersonal contact is
incidental to the work performed. She requires simple,
direct, and concrete supervision.
evaluated her Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr.
32-33, Finding 6). The VE testified at the administrative
hearing regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that
testimony, the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity
to perform her PRW as a housekeeper (light, unskilled).
Id. Because Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had not been
under a disability, as defined by the Act, from January 1,
2010 through the date of her decision or through June 15,
2018. (Tr. 34, Finding 7). Because Plaintiff retained the
capacity to perform her PRW, the ALJ determined Plaintiff had
not been under a disability, as defined by the Act, from
January 1, 2010 (alleged onset date) through June 15, 2018
(ALJ's decision date). (Tr. 34, Finding 7).
requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ
unfavorable disability determination. On October 4, 2018, the
Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's disability
determination. (Tr. 1-6). On November 2, 2018, Plaintiff
filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties consented to
the jurisdiction of this Court on December 27, 2018. ECF No.
8. This case is now ready for decision.
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) (2010); 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 ...