United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Southern Division
ORDER AND OPINION AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S FINAL
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
is Plaintiff's appeal of the Commissioner of Social
Security's final decision denying his applications for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. The Commissioner's decision is affirmed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
limited to a determination whether the decision is
“supported by substantial evidence on the record as a
whole. Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance
but...enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to
support the conclusion.” Andrews v. Colvin,
791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015) (citations omitted).
“As long as substantial evidence in the record supports
the Commissioner's decision, we may not reverse it
because substantial evidence exists in the record that would
have supported a contrary outcome, or because we would have
decided the case differently.” Cline v.
Colvin, 771 F.3d 1098, 1102 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation
omitted). Though advantageous to the Commissioner, this
standard also requires that the Court consider evidence that
fairly detracts from the final decision. Anderson v.
Astrue, 696 F.3d 790, 793 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). Substantial evidence means “more than a mere
scintilla” of evidence; rather, it is relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Gragg v. Astrue, 615 F.3d 932, 938 (8th
was born in 1981, has a high school education, and past work
experience as a truck driver, route driver, welder/ grinder,
and order filler. R. at 38-46. Plaintiff alleges a disability
onset date of February 22, 2014, stating he became disabled
after slipping and falling on ice. R. at 14, 56. The ALJ
determined Plaintiff had the following severe impairments:
fibromyalgia, degenerative disc disease of the spine, facet
arthropathy, mild right carpel tunnel syndrome, adjustment
disorder, anxiety, depression, and obesity. R. at 16. The ALJ
determined Plaintiff was not disabled and found Plaintiff had
a residual functional capacity (“RFC”):
[T]o perform sedentary work as defined in 20 C.F.R. §
404.167(a) and 416.967(a) except that he must avoid climbing
ladders, ropes or scaffolds; he can occasionally climb ramps
and stairs; he can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel,
crouch, crawl; he can frequently handle and finger; he must
avoid concentrated exposure to vibrations and hazards; he
must be able to change positions from sitting to standing
every 30 minutes; and he can have occasional contact with
supervisors, co-workers and the general public.
R. at 19. Based on the testimony of a vocational expert, the
ALJ determined Plaintiff could work as a final assembler or
table worker. R. at 26.
argues the ALJ failed to include a limitation in the RFC
regarding his ability to maintain concentration. One's
RFC is the “most you can still do despite your
limitations.” 20 C.F.R. § 404.1545(a)(1). The ALJ
must base the RFC on “all of the relevant evidence,
including the medical records, observations of treating
physicians and others, and an individual's own
description of his limitations.” McKinney v.
Apfel, 228 F.3d 860, 863 (8th Cir. 2000).
did not err in formulating Plaintiff's RFC.
Plaintiff's RFC limited him to “occasional contact
with supervisors, co-workers and the general public.”
R. at 19. The ALJ determined no other limitation was
necessary and such a determination is supported by the
record. In determining Plaintiff's RFC, the ALJ gave
great weight to the opinion of examining psychologist Dr.
Janice May. Dr. May found Plaintiff does not display signs of
suicidal ideations, being prone to physical violence,
substance abuse, or psychosis. R. at 355. Although Dr. May
noted Plaintiff's bland affect and an indifferent
attitude, she also noted Plaintiff's “speech is
logical, coherent, and goal-directed”, his recent and
remote memory is unimpaired, judgment is fair, and his
“attention/concentration is characterized by an ability
to attend and maintain focus.” Id. In meeting
with Dr. May, Plaintiff described “good success”
with medication prescribed for his anxiety. Id.
Significantly, Dr. May noted Plaintiff's mental
impairments “are likely to impact concentration however
would not prevent him from establishing gainful
employment.” Id. (emphasis added).
Function Report, Plaintiff indicated he can handle finances,
follow instructions, has no problems with authority figures,
and has no unusual behaviors or fears. R. at 239, 241-42.
Furthermore, the ALJ found Plaintiff to be alert and
attentive at the administrative hearing held in this matter.
R. at 19. Plaintiff's RFC properly reflects his mild
limitation regarding concentration, and the evidence in the
record does not support requiring ...