United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
L. WHITE DISTRICT JUDGE
an action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review
of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision
denying Amanda Langley ("Langley") application for
disability insurance benefits.
was born in 1980, and she alleged that she became disabled
beginning September 2, 2008. Langley alleged disability based
upon severe asthma, scoliosis, endometriosis, hypoxemia,
learning disability and obesity. (Tr. 63).
Social Security Administration ("SSA") denied
Langley's application for benefits, and she filed a
timely request for a hearing before an Administrative Law
Judge ("ALJ"). The SSA granted Langley's
request and a hearing was held on March 9, 2011. The ALJ
issued a written decision on May 20, 2011, upholding the
denial of benefits. (Tr. 14). Langley filed a timely Request
for Review of Hearing Decision with the Appeals Council (Tr.
7). The Appeals Council denied Langley's Request for
Review. (Tr. 1-3). The decision of the ALJ thus stands as the
final decision of the Commissioner. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000). Langley filed this
appeal on September 10, 2015. (ECF No. 1). Langley filed a
Brief in Support of her Complaint on December 14, 2015. (ECF
No. 10). The Commissioner filed a Brief in Support of the
Answer on March 11, 2016. (ECF No. 16). Langley filed a Reply
Brief on March 25, 2016. (ECF No. 17).
Decision of the ALJ
found that Langley had the following severe combination of
impairments: asthma/bronchitis, obesity, scoliosis and
questionable borderline intellectual functioning. (Tr. 19).
The ALJ, however, determined that Langley did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments 20 CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 20).
The ALJ found that Langley had the residual functional
capacity ("RFC") to perform light work as defined
in 20 CFR 416.967(b), meaning that she can lift-carry 20
pounds occasionally and 10 pounds frequently, stand/walk a
total of 6 hours in 8, except that she should avoid climbing
ladders, ropes, and scaffolds and can only occasionally
balance, kneel, crouch, crawl, and stoop. She can
occasionally climb ramps and stairs, and she should avoid
concentrated exposure to pulmonary irritants and prolonged
exposure to extreme heat or cold. Mentally, the claimant was
limited to performing simple routine tasks. (Tr. 21). The ALJ
found that Langley was unable to perform any past relevant
work. (Tr. 28). The ALJ determined that, based on
Langley's RFC, jobs exist in significant numbers in the
national economy that Langley could perform. (Tr. 28).
Consequently, the ALJ found that Langley was not disabled.
following is a summary of relevant evidence before the ALJ.
testified on March 9, 2011, as follows:
born in 1980 and went to school until the 11th
grade. (Tr. 37). She took General Education Diploma
("GED") classes but did not take the GED. (Tr. 37).
She got her driver's license in 2002, when she was 22.
(Tr. 38). She got divorced in 2007. (Tr. 38). She has three
children aged: 13, 12 and 9. She lives with her children, her
boyfriend, and her boyfriend's mother. (Tr. 38).
She's lived with them since June 2010. Before that, she
and her boyfriend lived in their own house. (Tr. 39). She has
been with her boyfriend for four years. (Tr. 39). Her
boyfriend and her kids do a lot of the house work. (Tr. 39).
Her boyfriend is disabled: he was born with spinal meningitis
and it "fried the front part of his brain." (Tr.
39). They met at Kinfolks, a restaurant where they both
worked. (Tr. 39). She met her boyfriend in September 2007.
(Tr. 39). She receives $149/month as "wife's
benefits" from her first husband and her kids receive
$149/month as well. (Tr. 39). She also receives food stamps.
became disabled September 2, 2008. (Tr. 40). On that date,
she was working at Kinfolks and she collapsed with a lung
infection. (Tr. 40). Kinfolks fired Langley when she returned
to work. (Tr. 40). She has been out of work since then. She
has applied for jobs but no one will hire her. (Tr. 40). She
most recently applied for a job last year at McDonald's.
had difficulty with learning her jobs in the past. (Tr. 41).
She could not understand how to use a cash register. (Tr.
had trouble with her lungs since 1996. (Tr. 41). She is short
of breath all the time. (Tr. 41). Temperatures impact her
breathing. (Tr. 41). She has to go on breathing treatments at
the hospital and take steroids. (Tr. 41). Her lungs do not
cause her any problems unless she is having one of her
attacks. It can take her 3-4 hours to return to normal
functioning after a breathing attack. (Tr. 42). Sometimes her
breathing attacks will make it difficult for her to care for
her children. (Tr. 42). She can be in bed for two to three
days at a time. (Tr. 42). At home, she uses a nebulizer every
two hours. (Tr. 42). The nebulizer makes her shaky such that
she cannot hold a cup without a lid or her children. (Tr.
42-43). She has been taking these medications for her
breathing since 1996. (Tr. 43).
also has problems with her mood. (Tr. 43). It depresses her
that she cannot play with her kids. (Tr. 43).
boyfriend helps with the housework. (Tr. 43-44). She can do
dishes, but not vacuuming, sweeping, mopping or laundry
because of her asthma. (Tr. 44). Her boyfriend or his mother
does the grocery shopping. (Tr. 44). She helps with her
kids' social studies homework but she cannot help them
with their math homework. (Tr. 44). She was in special
education classes at school. (Tr. 44).
her driver's license at age 22. (Tr. 45). She took the
driver's test two times. (Tr. 45). She claims she
didn't get her license sooner ...