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Glaser v. Colvin

United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division

September 28, 2016

MICHAEL JAMES GLASER, Plaintiff,
v.
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Michael James Glaser 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 Supplemental Security Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act. Glaser alleged that he was disabled because of schizoaffective disorder, depression, and hearing loss. (Tr. 199.)

         An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) found that, despite Glaser's multiple severe mental 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.

         This 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.

         I. Procedural History

         Glaser filed an application for SSI on June 15, 2012, claiming that he became unable to work due to his disabling condition on December 25, 2008. (Tr. 124.) Glaser's claim was denied initially. (Tr. 42-57.) Following an administrative hearing, Glaser's claim was denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated February 26, 2012. (Tr. 9-20.) Glaser 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 April 27, 2015. (Tr. 4, 1-3.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.

         In the instant action, Glaser first claims that the “findings of residual functional capacity do not find support in some evidence as required under the standards contained in Singh and Lauer.” (Doc. 15 at 6.) Glaser next argues that the “hypothetical question to the vocational expert does not capture the concrete consequences of Plaintiff's impairment, and therefore, the response of the vocational expert does not represent substantial evidence.” Id. at 17.

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ found that Glaser has not engaged in substantial gainful activity since June 15, 2012, the application date. (Tr. 11.)

         In addition, the ALJ concluded that Glaser had the following severe impairments: recurrent major depression and an anxiety disorder. Id. The ALJ found that Glaser did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed impairments. Id.

         As to Glaser's RFC, the ALJ stated:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds 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 is able to understand, remember, and carry out at least simple instructions and non-detailed tasks and he can respond appropriately to supervisors and coworkers in a task oriented setting where contact with others is casual and infrequent. The claimant should not work in a setting which includes constant/regular contact with the general public and should not perform work which includes more than infrequent handling of customer complaints. He has limited reading skills.

(Tr. 13.)

         The ALJ found that Glaser's allegations regarding his limitations were not credible. (Tr. 14.) In determining Glaser's RFC, the ALJ indicated that he was assigning “considerable weight” to the opinion of consultative psychiatrist Georgia Jones, M.D. (Tr. 17.) He indicated that he was assigning less weight to the opinion of consultative psychiatrist Aqeeb Ahmad, M.D., as his opinion appeared to be based on Glaser's subjective complaints. Id.

         The ALJ further found that Glaser has no past relevant work. (Tr. 18.) The ALJ noted that a vocational expert testified that Glaser could perform jobs existing in significant numbers in the national economy, such as warehouse worker and packer of agricultural goods. (Tr. 19.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Glaser has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since June 15, 2012, the date the application was filed. Id.

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for supplemental security income filed on June 15, 2012, the claimant is not disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act.

(Tr. 20.)

         III. Applicable Law

         III. A. Standard of Review

         The 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 ...


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