United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
The following opinion is intended to be the opinion of the Court judicially reviewing the denial of Darrell Jaco’s (“Jaco”) application for disability insurance benefits and supplemental security income (“SSI”) under the Social Security Act. The Court has jurisdiction over the subject matter of this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g). The parties have consented to the exercise of authority by the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 636(c). [Doc. 9.] The Court has reviewed the parties’ briefs and the entire administrative record, including the hearing transcript and the medical evidence. The Court has now heard oral argument on the pleadings of the parties and the Court now issues its ruling in this opinion. Based on the following, the Court will reverse and remand the Commissioner’s decision.
I. Issues for Review
Jaco presents the following issues for review. First, Jaco contends that the administrative law judge’s (“ALJ”) residual functional capacity (“RFC”) determination is not supported by evidence in the record and is based on the ALJ’s “layperson interpretation” of the record, because there is no opinion regarding his physical functional limitations. Second, Jaco contends that the ALJ’s RFC determination did not include limitations for his severe impairments of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”) and cervical radiculopathy. Third, Jaco asserts that the ALJ was required to obtain testimony from a vocational expert. Fourth, Jaco states that the ALJ failed to properly determine his credibility. 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 is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to support the Commissioner’s conclusion.” Krogmeier v. Barnhart, 294 F.3d 1019, 1022 (8th Cir. 2002). See also Cox v. Astrue, 495 F.3d 614, 617 (8th Cir. 2007). Therefore, even if a court finds that there is a preponderance of the evidence against the ALJ’s decision, the ALJ’s decision must be affirmed if it is supported by substantial evidence. Clark v. Heckler, 733 F.2d 65, 68 (8th Cir. 1984). To determine whether the Commissioner’s final decision is supported by substantial evidence, the Court is required to review the administrative record as a whole and 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 physicians;
(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 proper hypothetical questions which fairly set forth the claimant’s physical impairment; and
(7) The testimony of consulting physicians.
Brand v. Sec’y of Dept. of Health, Educ. & Welfare, 623 F.2d 523, 527 ...