United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Hot Springs Division
BARRY A. BRYANT UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Denise Meredith (“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
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) and a period of
disability under Title II 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 application on November 14,
2016. (Tr. 12). In this application, Plaintiff alleged being
disabled due to degenerative disc disease, osteoarthritis,
sjogrens syndrome, fibromyalgia, scoliosis, neuropathy,
depression/anxiety, asthma, migraine headaches, and dysphagia
or schatzki's ring recurrent complications. (Tr. 255).
Plaintiff alleged an onset date of November 1, 2010. (Tr.
12). This application was denied initially and again upon
reconsideration. (Tr. 116-146).
Plaintiff's application was denied, Plaintiff requested
an administrative hearing on this application, and this
hearing request was granted. (Tr. 71-96, 147-154). On May 8,
2018, the SSA held an administrative hearing in Hot Springs,
Arkansas. (Tr. 71-96). At this hearing, Plaintiff was present
and was represented by Hans Pullen. Id. Plaintiff
and Vocational Expert (“VE”) William Elmore
testified at this hearing. Id. During this hearing,
Plaintiff testified she was fifty (50) years old, which is
classified as a “person closely approaching advanced
age” under 20 C.F.R. § 404.1563(d) (2008). (Tr.
74). Plaintiff also testified she had a bachelor's degree
in teaching. (Tr. 75).
9, 2018, after the administrative hearing, the ALJ entered a
fully unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application. (Tr. 9-22). The ALJ determined Plaintiff last
met the insured status requirements of the Act on December
31, 2016. (Tr. 14, Finding 1). The ALJ found Plaintiff had
not engaged in Substantial Gainful Activity
(“SGA”) from her alleged onset date of November
1, 2010 through her date last insured of December 31, 2016.
(Tr. 14, Finding 2). The ALJ determined that, through her
date last insured, Plaintiff had the following severe
impairments: diffuse disease of the connective tissue,
migraine headaches, and a mood disorder with anxiety. (Tr.
14-15, 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. 15-16, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined her Residual Functional Capacity
(“RFC”). (Tr. 16-20, Finding 5). Specifically,
the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the following RFC:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b). The claimant can
lift/carry no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent
lifting/carrying of up to 10 pounds. The claimant can perform
activities that require a good deal of walking or standing,
six hours in an eight-hour workday. The claimant can perform
complex, detailed or skills tasks, involving multiple
variables. She is able to exercise considerable independent
judgment and requires little to no supervision.
evaluated her Past Relevant Work (“PRW”). (Tr.
20-22, 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 the following PRW: (1) teacher's aide
(semiskilled, light); (2) teacher of preschool (skilled,
light); (3) teacher of elementary school (skilled, light);
and (4) secretary (skilled, sedentary). (Tr. 20-22, Finding
addition to this PRW, the ALJ also determined whether
Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform other work
existing in significant numbers in the national economy. (Tr.
21-22). The VE also testified at the administrative hearing
regarding this issue. Id. Based upon that testimony,
the ALJ determined Plaintiff retained the capacity to perform
the following occupations: (1) cashier II (unskilled) with
1.7 million jobs nationally and (2) sales attendant
(unskilled) with 350, 000 jobs nationally. Id.
Because the ALJ found Plaintiff retained the capacity to
perform her PRW and this other work, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff had not been under a disability (as defined by the
Act) at any time from November 1, 2010 (alleged onset date)
through December 31, 2016 (date last insured). (Tr. 22,
requested the Appeals Council's review of the ALJ
unfavorable disability determination. On October 24, 2018,
the Appeals Council declined to review the ALJ's
disability determination. (Tr. 1-6). On November 26, 2018,
Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. The Parties
consented to the jurisdiction of this Court on December 26,
2018. ECF No. 8. This case is now ready for decision.