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Burton v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division

November 12, 2014

KATHRYN L. BURTON, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

NANNETTE A. BAKER, Magistrate Judge.

This is an action under Title 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner's final decision denying Kathryn Burton's ("Burton") application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income ("SSI") under Title II and Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Burton alleges disability due to problems with her back, neck, hips, hands, feet, legs, eyes, shoulders, diabetes, mental conditions, breathing conditions, sinus problems, and swelling of her hands. (Tr. 206.) The parties consented to the jurisdiction of the undersigned United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c)(1). [Doc. 9.] For the reasons set forth, below the Court will affirm the Commissioner's decision.

I. Issues for Review

Burton presents two issues for review. First, Burton states that the administrative law judge ("ALJ") failed to review the evidence regarding her mental impairments in accordance with Social Security regulations. Second, she states that the ALJ's decision fails to cite to any medical evidence from a psychologist or other mental health therapist in support of the mental limitations in the residual functional capacity ("RFC") assessment. The Commissioner contends that the ALJ's decision is supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.

II. Standard of Review

This Court reviews decisions of the ALJ to determine whether the decision is supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would find adequate support for the ALJ's decision. Smith v. Shalala, 31 F.3d 715, 717 (8th Cir. 1994). Therefore, even if this Court finds that there is a preponderance of evidence against the weight of the ALJ's decision, the decision must be affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence. Clark v. Heckler, 733 F.2d 65, 68 (8th Cir. 1984). An administrative decision is not subject to reversal simply because some evidence may support the opposite conclusion. Gwathney v. Chater, 1043, 1045 (8th Cir. 1997).

To determine whether the ALJ's final decision is supported by substantial evidence, the Court is required to review the administrative record as a whole to consider:

(1) The findings of credibility made by the ALJ;
(2) The education, background, work history, and age of the claimant;
(3) The medical evidence given by the claimant's treating physician;
(4) The subjective complaints of pain and description of the claimant's physical activity and impairment;
(5) The corroboration by third parties of the claimant's physical impairment;
(6) The testimony of vocational experts based upon prior hypothetical questions which fairly set forth the ...

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