United States District Court, W.D. Missouri.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Mary Voorhies petitions for review of an adverse decision by
Defendant, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security
(“Commissioner”). Plaintiff applied for
disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, and for
supplemental security income under Title XVI of the Act, 42
U.S.C. §§ 1381-1383f. The administrative law judge
(“ALJ”) found she had multiple severe impairments
including Hashimoto's disease, fibromyalgia, pain
disorder with depression, anxiety, and irritable bowel
syndrome, but retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform work as a document preparer,
addressing clerk, or weight tester. The ALJ thus found her
explained below, the Court finds the ALJ's opinion is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.
The Commissioner's decision is therefore AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed the pending applications on May 4, 2012, claiming a
disability onset date of April 15, 2008, and a last-insured
date of December 31, 2012. The Commissioner denied her
applications at the initial claim level. The ALJ heard her
case but issued an unfavorable decision. The Appeals Council
denied Plaintiff's request for review, leaving the
ALJ's decision as the Commissioner's final decision.
Plaintiff has exhausted all administrative remedies and
judicial review is now appropriate under 42 U.S.C.
§§ 405(g), 1383(c)(3).
federal court's review of the Commissioner's decision
to deny disability benefits is limited to determining whether
the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Andrews v.
Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015). Substantial
evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough evidence
that a reasonable mind would find it sufficient to support
the Commissioner's decision. Id. In making this
assessment, the court considers evidence that detracts from
the Commissioner's decision, as well as evidence that
supports it. Id. The court must “defer
heavily” to the Commissioner's findings and
conclusions. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d 847, 852
(8th Cir. 2015). The court may reverse the Commissioner's
decision only if it falls outside of the available zone of
choice; a decision is not outside this zone simply because
the evidence also points to an alternate outcome. Buckner
v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir. 2011).
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether a claimant is disabled, that is,
unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity by
reason of a medically determinable impairment that has lasted
or can be expected to last for a continuous period of at
least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). This
five-step process considers whether: “1) whether the
claimant is currently employed; 2) whether the claimant is
severely impaired; 3) whether the impairment is, or is
comparable to, a listed impairment; 4) whether the claimant
can perform past relevant work; and if not, 5) whether the
claimant can perform any other kind of work.”
Andrews, 791 F.3d at 928.
makes two types of arguments on appeal. First, she argues
that in formulating her RFC, the ALJ improperly neglected
certain of her limitations. Second, she argues the ALJ
improperly found her incredible.
The ALJ's RFC finding is supported by substantial record
first argument relates to her RFC, which is the most a
claimant can do despite her limitations. See 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1545(a)(1), 416.945(a)(1). “The
RFC must (1) give appropriate consideration to all of [the
claimant's] impairments, and (2) be based on competent
medical evidence establishing the physical and mental
activity that the claimant can perform in a work
setting.” Mabry v. Colvin, 815 F.3d 386, 390
(8th Cir. 2016) (alteration in original).
gives several reasons for why she thinks the ALJ failed to
properly determine her RFC. First, she argues the ALJ ignored
limitations identified by Brooke Preylo, Psy.D. (“Dr.
Preylo”), and Martin Isenberg, Ph.D. (“Dr.
Isenberg”). Dr. Preylo opined that Plaintiff was
moderately limited in her ability to interact with
supervisors and coworkers. R. at 800, 803. Dr. Isenberg
opined that Plaintiff was moderately limited in her ability
to accept instructions and to respond ...