United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
James Fazio brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of his application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Title II of the Social Security Act and Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Fazio's multiple severe impairments, he was not
disabled as he had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy.
matter is pending before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is
presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here
only to the extent necessary.
protectively filed his applications for DIB and SSI on March
6, 2014, alleging that he became unable to work due to his
disabling condition on November 10, 2011. (Tr. 263-68,
285-86, 604-05.) His claims were denied initially. (Tr.
287-91.) Following an administrative hearing, Fazio's
claims were denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated
January 28, 2015. (Tr. 12-23.) Fazio then filed a request for
review of the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council of
the Social Security Administration (SSA), which was denied on
March 26, 2015. (Tr. 8, 1-5.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ
stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.
instant action, Fazio claims that the “ALJ's RFC is
not supported by substantial evidence.” (Doc. 16 at 3.)
The ALJ's Determination
stated that Fazio met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through September 30, 2016. (Tr. 15.) The
ALJ found that Fazio had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since December 31, 2013. Id.
addition, the ALJ concluded that Fazio had the following
severe impairments: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
anxiety disorder, and depressive disorder (20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.1520(c) and 416.920(c)). Id. The
ALJ found that Fazio did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that meets or equals in severity
the requirements of any listed impairment. Id.
Fazio's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that
the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform
a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the
following nonexertional limitations: He can (1) understand,
remember, and carry out simple instructions; (2) have
occasional interaction with supervisors, co-workers, and the
public; (3) make simple, work-related decisions; and (4)
tolerate occasional change in work location.
found that Fazio's allegations regarding his limitations
were not entirely credible. (Tr. 18.) In determining
Fazio's RFC, the ALJ indicated that the opinion of
Fazio's treating psychiatrist, Justin Esses, M.D., was
entitled to “some, but not great weight.” (Tr.
19.) She stated that he was giving “great weight”
to the opinion of non-examining state agency consultant,
Keith L. Allen, Ph.D. Id.
further found that Fazio has no past relevant work. (Tr. 21.)
The ALJ noted that a vocational expert testified that Fazio
could perform jobs existing in significant numbers in the
national economy, such as stubber, lab equipment cleaner, and
laundry worker. (Tr. 22.) The ALJ therefore concluded that
Fazio has not been under a disability, as defined in the
Social Security Act, from December 31, 2013, through the date
of the decision. Id.
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits protectively field on March 6,
2014, the claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and
223(d) of the Social Security Act.
Based on the application for supplemental security income
protectively filed on March 6, 2014, the claimant is not
disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security
A. Standard of Review
decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed if it is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Estes v. Barnhart, 275 F.3d
722, 724 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance of the evidence, but enough that a reasonable
person would find it adequate to support the conclusion.
Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir.
2001). This “substantial evidence test, ”
however, is “more than a mere search of the record for
evidence supporting the Commissioner's findings.”
Coleman v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 767, 770 (8th Cir. 2007)
(internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
“Substantial evidence on the record as a whole. . .
requires a more scrutinizing analysis.” Id.
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
determine whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole,
the Court must review the entire administrative record and
1. The credibility findings made by ...