United States District Court, E.D. Arkansas, Western Division
RANDALL D. ROBERTS PLAINTIFF
ANDREW SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security Administration DEFENDANT
following Recommended Disposition
(“Recommendation”) has been sent to United States
District Judge Billy Roy Wilson. You may file written
objections to all or part of this Recommendation. If you do
so, those objections must: (1) specifically explain the
factual and/or legal basis for your objections; and (2) be
received by the Clerk of this Court within fourteen (14) days
of this Recommendation. By not objecting, you may waive the
right to appeal questions of fact.
Randall D. Roberts (“Roberts”), applied for
disability insurance benefits (Title II) on August 28, 2013,
alleging disability beginning on July 1, 2011. (Tr. at 12).
His date-last-insured for Title II benefits was December 31,
2014. (Tr. at 1348). After conducting a hearing, the
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) denied his
application in a decision dated April 7, 2015. (Tr. at 18).
The Appeals Council denied Roberts's request for review.
(Tr. at 1). After Roberts filed a complaint in this Court
seeking review, Judge Wilson remanded the case for further
development. (Tr. at 1432-1436). During the pendency of that
District Court case, Roberts filed an application for
supplemental security income benefits (Title XVI). (Tr. at
second hearing was held on October 6, 2017. (Tr. at 1348).
The ALJ denied Roberts's application in a decision dated
December 19, 2017, finding that Roberts was not disabled for
the relevant time-period for Title II benefits (from the
alleged onset date of July 1, 2011 through the
date-last-insured of December 31, 2014). (Tr. at 1348-1360).
Concurrently, the ALJ determined that Roberts was disabled
after December 31, 2014, for purposes of his Title XVI
application. (Doc. No. 11, at 2). The Appeals Council denied
Roberts's request for review of the ALJ's decision
denying benefits. (Tr. at 1335, 1573). Thus, the ALJ's
decision now stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner. Roberts has filed a Complaint seeking judicial
review from this Court.
reasons stated below, the Court concludes that the
Commissioner's decision should be affirmed.
The Commissioner's Decision:
found that Roberts had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since his alleged onset date of July 1, 2011 through
December 31, 2014. (Tr. at 1350). At Step Two, the ALJ found
that Roberts has the following severe impairments:
degenerative disk disease, affective disorder, anxiety
disorder, and personality disorder. (Tr. at 1351).
finding that Roberts's impairments did not meet or equal
a listed impairment (Tr. at 1351), the ALJ determined that
Roberts had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform the full range of sedentary
work, except that: (1) he could only occasionally climb,
balance, crawl, kneel, stoop, and crouch; (2) he could only
occasionally reach overhead bilaterally; (3) he is limited to
simple, routine, and repetitive tasks in a setting where
interpersonal contact is incidental to the work performed;
and (4) he could respond to supervision that is simple,
direct, and concrete. (Tr. at 1353).
found that, based on Roberts's RFC, he was unable to
perform any of his past relevant work. (Tr. at 1358). At Step
Five, the ALJ relied on the testimony of a Vocational Expert
(“VE”) to find that, based on Roberts's age,
education, work experience and RFC, jobs existed in
significant numbers in the national economy that he could
perform, including work as circuit board assembler, a driver
escort, and a document preparer. (Tr. at 1359). Thus, the ALJ
found that Roberts was not disabled from July 1, 2011 through
December 31, 2014. (Tr. at 1360).
Standard of Review
Court's function on review is to determine whether the
Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole and whether it is based on
legal error. Miller v. Colvin, 784 F.3d 472, 477
(8th Cir. 2015); see also 42 U.S.C. §
405(g). While “substantial evidence” is that
which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion, “substantial evidence on the record as a
whole” requires a court to engage in a more
“[O]ur review is more than an examination of the record
for the existence of substantial evidence in support of the
Commissioner's decision; we also take into account
whatever in the record fairly detracts from that
decision.” Reversal is not warranted, however,