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Busby v. Colvin

United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Divison

January 26, 2015

MALISSIA BUSBY, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, ACTING COMMISSIONER OF SOCIAL SECURITY, Defendant.

ORDER

NANETTE K. LAUGHREY, District Judge.

Plaintiff Malissia Busby seeks review of the Administrative Law Judge's decision denying her application for Social Security benefits. For the following reasons, the decision of the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) is affirmed.

I. Background

A. Busby's Medical History

In July 2011, a CT scan revealed that Busby had suffered a stroke. [Tr. 258]. After an operation and administration of medications, her blood pressure decreased. [Tr. 275-276]. Upon discharge, she was not symptomatic and was ambulating well. Id. At her August 2011 postoperative follow up appointment, Busby's doctor noted that her sensation was intact and strength was normal in all four extremities. [Tr. 321].

In November 2011, Busby indicated in a function report that she had no problem completing personal care activities on her own. [Tr. 186]. She was able to groom herself and administer her own medications. [Tr. 187]. As of that time, she was capable of driving a car and grocery shopping by herself. [Tr. 188].

In January 2012, Busby underwent a consultative psychological examination with Dr. Terry L. Efird. Dr. Efird noted that Busby's speech was within reasonable limits and that she had logical, relevant, and goal-directed thought processes. [Tr. 349]. The doctor opined that Busby retained the capacity to perform basic cognitive tasks required to perform and persist with basic work like activities. [Tr. 351]. Later that month, Dr. Jeffrey Hull, an ear, nose, and throat specialist, concluded that Busby had a normal ability to communicate. [Tr. 360].

In July 2012, Busby's treating physician noted that she walked with a coordinated and smooth gait and had normal sensation and strength. [Tr. 393]. Her depression and anxiety were stable on medication. Id. In November 2012, her sensation and strength were again normal with no abnormalities in her extremities. [Tr. 392]. In January 2013, Busby did not complain of any pain, depression, or anxiety. [Tr. 390].

The ALJ held an administrative hearing prior to rendering his decision in this case. At the administrative hearing, Busby stated that she could not drive or grocery shop by herself because she gets confused. [Tr. 38-40]. She stated that her limbs get tired easily and that she has poor motor strength. [Tr. 40]. She complained of difficulties balancing and walking. [Tr. 46-49]. Her mother then testified and corroborated Busby's statements.

B. ALJ Decision

The ALJ denied Busby's request for disability benefits, concluding that Busby had the Residual Functional Capacity (RFC) to engage in substantial gainful activity. The ALJ concluded that despite Busby's severe impairments of status post intracranial hemorrhage, a cognitive disorder NOS, depression, anxiety, and hypertension, she retained the following RFC:

[T]o perform light work as defined in 20 CRF 404.1567(b), in that, she can occasionally lift 20 pounds, frequently lift 10 pounds, stand or walk for approximately six hours in an eight-hour workday, and sit for approximately six hours in an eight-hour workday with normal breaks. The claimant also has the following nonexertional limitations that further limit her ability to perform light work: should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds; limited to occasional balancing on level surfaces; should avoid exposure to noise above the moderate level (as defined in the SCO appendix to the DOT); should avoid workplace hazards such as unprotected machinery and unprotected heights; limited to the performance of simple, routine, and repetitive tasks that involve only simple work-related decisions with few, if any, workplace changes; should avoid all interaction with the general public; and can be around coworkers throughout the day, but is limited to only incidental interaction with those coworkers.

[Tr. 17].

In determining Busby's RFC, the ALJ considered Busby's testimony at the administrative hearing, along with the medical evidence of the record. The ALJ concluded that Busby's complaints at the administrative hearing were not entirely credible, as they were not supported by the medical evidence of the record. The ALJ consulted a vocational expert at the administrative hearing and inquired as to an individual's ability to maintain employment with Busby's RFC. The vocational expert testified that there would be jobs available for a person with Busby's ...


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