United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
JEFFERY D. JOHNSTON, Plaintiff,
CAROLYN W. COLVIN, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE.
action is for judicial review of the Acting Commissioner of
Social Security's (“Commissioner”) decision
denying Plaintiff Jeffery Johnston's
(“Plaintiff”) application for Social Security
disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social
Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401-434. The Administrative
Law Judge (“ALJ”) found Plaintiff had numerous
severe impairments but retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to work as a surveillance system
monitor, food and beverage order clerk, and medical supplies
carefully reviewing the record and the parties'
arguments, the Court finds the ALJ's opinion is supported
by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. The
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed his application for disability insurance benefits on
April 19, 2012, alleging a disability onset date of November
15, 2011. The Commissioner denied the application at the
initial claim level, and Plaintiff appealed the denial to an
ALJ. The ALJ held a video hearing on April 24, 2014, and on
May 13, 2014, issued a decision finding Plaintiff was not
disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review on October 19, 2015, 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).
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. §
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. Buckner v.
Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir. 2011). 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. McKinney v. Apfel, 228 F.3d 860, 863
(8th Cir. 2000). The court must “defer heavily”
to the Commissioner's findings and conclusions. Hurd
v. Astrue, 621 F.3d 734, 738 (8th Cir. 2010). The court
may reverse the Commissioner's decision only if it falls
outside of the available zone of choice, and a decision is
not outside this zone simply because the court might have
decided the case differently were it the initial finder of
fact. Buckner, 646 F.3d at 556.
argues the ALJ's decision should be reversed or remanded
because: (1) the RFC determination is unsupported by
substantial evidence; and (2) the Commissioner did not
sustain her burden at step five.
The ALJ's RFC determination is supported by substantial
respect to his RFC, the ALJ found Plaintiff possessed the
to perform sedentary work . . . except for the following
nonexertional limitations that reduce the claimant's
capacity for sedentary work: can never climb ladders, ropes
or scaffolds; can never use power tools; can only
occasionally stoop, kneel, crouch, and crawl; must avoid
concentrated exposure to vibration; and must avoid ...