United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Texarkana Division
BARRY A. BRYANT U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Robinson, (“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 his application for Disability
Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under Title II of the
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 his application for DIB on April 13, 2016.
(Tr. 262-265). In this application, Plaintiff alleges being
disabled due to essential thrombocytosis. (Tr. 288).
Plaintiff alleges an onset date of October 5, 2015.
Id. His application was denied initially and again
upon reconsideration. (Tr. 113-130).
requested an administrative hearing on his denied
application. (Tr. 160-161). This hearing request was granted
and Plaintiff's initial administrative hearing was held
on May 30, 2017. (Tr. 51-80). Following this, the ALJ the ALJ
entered an unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's
application for DIB. (Tr. 131-148). On April 23, 2018, the
Appeals Council granted review of the decision and remanded
the case to obtain supplemental evidence. (Tr. 149-151).
remand, Plaintiff had a second administrative hearing on
September 5, 2018. (Tr. 81-112). At this hearing, Plaintiff
was present and was represented by counsel, Greg Giles.
Id. Plaintiff and Vocational Expert
(“VE”) Donald Rue testified at the hearing.
the hearing on October 31, 2018, the ALJ entered an
unfavorable decision denying Plaintiff's application for
SSI. (Tr. 15-27). In this decision, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff met the insured status requirements of the Act
through December 31, 2020. (Tr. 17, Finding 1). The ALJ also
found Plaintiff had not engaged in Substantial Gainful
Activity (“SGA”) since October 5, 2015. (Tr. 17,
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), post-traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder, migraine
headaches, and history of thrombocytosis. (Tr. 17, 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.
18, Finding 4).
decision, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and determined his RFC. (Tr. 19-25, Finding 5).
First, the ALJ evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
complaints and found his claimed limitations were not
entirely credible. Id. Second, the ALJ determined
Plaintiff retained the RFC to perform light work with
performance of simple, routine tasks; and occasional
interaction with supervisors, coworkers, and the general
then evaluated Plaintiff's Past Relevant Work
(“PRW”). (Tr. 25, Finding 6). The ALJ determined
Plaintiff was not capable of performing any of his PRW.
Id. The ALJ, however, also determined there was
other work existing in significant numbers in the national
economy Plaintiff could perform. (Tr. 26, Finding 10). The
ALJ based this determination upon the testimony of the VE.
Id. 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 housekeeper with approximately 137, 000
such jobs in the nation and fitting room attendant with
approximately 213, 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 October
5, 2015. (Tr. 27, Finding 11).
Plaintiff requested the Appeals Council's review of the
ALJ's decision. (7-11). The Appeals Council denied this
request for review. (Tr. 1-6). On February 26, 2019,
Plaintiff filed the present appeal. ECF No. 1. Both Parties
have filed appeal briefs. ECF Nos. 15, 16. 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. §§