United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Ruth Stark brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of her 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 Stark was not
disabled, because she did not have an impairment or
combination of impairments that significantly limited her
ability to perform basic work-related activities.
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 her applications for DIB and SSI on June
5, 2012, claiming that she became unable to work due to her
disabling condition on January 10, 2011. (Tr. 281-94.)
Stark's claims were denied initially. (Tr. 106-17.)
Following an administrative hearing, Stark's claims were
denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated July 17, 2014.
(Tr. 12-20.) Stark 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 August 4,
2015. (Tr. 7, 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, Stark first argues that the ALJ “did
not provide a proper decision at step two because the ALJ
failed to properly consider Stark's cognitive disorder as
a medically determinable impairment.” (Doc. 12 at 5.)
Stark next argues that the ALJ “did not provide a
proper decision at step two because the ALJ failed to
consider Stark's obesity, hypertension, and
hyperlipidemia as severe impairments.” (Doc. 12 at 11.)
Stark finally contends that the ALJ “erred by failing
to provide a proper credibility analysis as required by SSR
96-7p in that the ALJ failed to base the analysis on the
substantial evidence of record.” (Doc. 12 at 13.)
The ALJ's Determination
found that Stark met the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2015, and has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since January 10,
2011, the alleged onset date. (Tr. 14.)
addition, the ALJ concluded that Stark has the following
medically determinable impairments: hypertension,
hyperlipidemia, and obesity. (Tr. 15.) The ALJ found that
Stark does not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that has significantly limited her ability to
perform basic work-related activities for twelve consecutive
months. Id. The ALJ therefore found that Stark does
not have a severe impairment or combination of impairments.
The ALJ found that Stark's allegations regarding her
limitations were not entirely credible.
the opinion evidence, the ALJ indicated that he was assigning
“significant weight” to the opinions of the
medical experts, Dr. John Pollard, Dr. Mitchell Collman, and
Dr. Charles Augenshine; and to the opinion of examining
psychologist Dr. Paul Rexroat. (Tr. 18.) He stated that he
was extending “considerable weight” to the
opinion of non-examining state agency psychologist Dr. Kyle
DeVore. (Tr. 19.) The ALJ indicated that he was according
“less weight” to the opinion of consultative
psychologist Dr. Michael Armour. Id. Finally, the
ALJ stated that the medical source statement of treating
physician Dr. Doris Tribune-Brown was entitled to no weight.
found that Stark has not been under a disability, as defined
in the Social Security Act, from January 10, 2011, 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 filed on June 5, 2012, 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 June 5, 2012, the claimant is not
disabled under section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security
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 the ALJ.
2. The plaintiff's vocational factors.
3. The medical evidence from treating and consulting
4. The plaintiff's subjective complaints relating to
exertional and non-exertional ...