Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Houchins v. Berryhill

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

March 27, 2017

MONICA HOUCHINS, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          ABBIE CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE

         Plaintiff Monica Houchins 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.

         An Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that, despite Houchins' multiple severe impairments, she was not disabled as she had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform past relevant work as a cashier, hand packer, and laundry worker.

         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.

         For the reasons discussed below, the decision of the Commissioner will be reversed and remanded.

         I. Procedural History

         Houchins protectively filed her application for DIB on April 19, 2013. (Tr. 150-58, 193.) She alleged that she became disabled on November 6, 2012, due to problems with her right knee and back, staph infection, diabetes, acid reflux, and “nerves.” (Tr. 197.) Houchins' claim was denied initially. (Tr. 91-95.) Following an administrative hearing, Houchins' claim was denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated October 20, 2014. (Tr. 20-32.) Houchins 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 December 6, 2015. (Tr. 1-6.) 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, Houchins first argues that the ALJ erred “by failing to support his finding at steps four and five of the evaluation process because despite an apparent conflict between the [Dictionary of Occupational Titles] and the vocational expert testimony, neither the ALJ nor the VE provided an explanation for the conflict.” (Doc. 14 at 9.) Houchins next contends that the ALJ erred in “failing to base the RFC on substantial evidence of record.” Id. at 12.

         II. The ALJ's Determination

         The ALJ stated that Houchins meets the insured status requirements of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2017. (Tr. 22.) The ALJ found that Houchins had not engaged in substantial gainful activity since her alleged onset date of November 6, 2012. Id.

         In addition, the ALJ concluded that Houchins had the following severe impairments: obesity, degenerative joint disease of both knees with status-post bilateral arthroscopic surgeries, degenerative disc disease of the cervical spine with status-post discectomy and fusion at ¶ 5-C6, degenerative disc disease and spondylosis of the lumbosacral spine, and a depressive disorder. Id. The ALJ found that Houchins did not have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets or equals in severity the requirements of any impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. (Tr. 23.)

         As to Houchins' RFC, the ALJ stated:

After careful consideration of the entire record, the undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except that it also includes these nonexertional capabilities and limitations: occasionally stooping, kneeling, crouching, and crawling; occasionally doing overhead work; not having exposure to unprotected heights or dangerous moving machinery; and doing only simple routine, repetitive tasks. Light work involves standing and walking at least 6 hours out of an 8-hour day, and lifting, carrying, pushing and pulling no more than 20 pounds at a time with frequent lifting or carrying of objects weighing up to 10 pounds. 20 CFR 404.1567(b).

(Tr. 25.)

         The ALJ found that Houchins' allegations regarding her limitations were not entirely credible. (Tr. 31.) The ALJ determined that Houchins was capable of performing her past relevant work as a cashier, hand packer, and laundry worker. Id. He further found that, even if Houchins were unable to perform past relevant work, she could still perform other jobs. Id. The ALJ therefore concluded that Houchins has not been under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from November 6, 2012, through the date of the decision. Id.

         The ALJ's final decision reads as follows:

Based on the application for a period of disability and disability insurance benefits protectively filed on April 19, 2013, the claimant is not disabled as defined in sections ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.