United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
an action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review
of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision
denying Victoria Niemeyer's (“Niemeyer”)
application for disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401,
August 14, 2012, Niemeyer protectively filed an application
for disability insurance benefits, alleging a disability
onset date of May 18, 2011, due to stress, anxiety, and
depression (Tr. 139-147, 203). The Social Security
Administration (“SSA”) denied Niemeyer's
claim on October 23, 2012 (Tr. 85-89). Niemeyer filed a
timely request for a hearing before an administrative law
judge (“ALJ”) on January 22, 2013 (Tr. 90). After
a hearing held on April 21, 2014 (Tr. 36-74), the ALJ issued
a written decision on June 3, 2014, upholding the denial of
benefits (Tr. 18-35). Niemeyer requested review of the
ALJ's decision by the Appeals Council (Tr. 16-17). On
October 20, 2015, the Appeals Council denied her request for
review (Tr. 1-6). Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the
final decision of the Commissioner. See Sims v.
Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000).
filed this appeal on December 22, 2015 (Doc. 1). The
Commissioner filed an Answer (Doc. 11). Niemeyer filed a
Brief in Support of her Complaint (Doc. 23), and the
Commissioner filed a Brief in Support of the Answer (Doc.
28). Niemeyer did not file a Reply Brief.
following is a summary of the relevant evidence before the
hearing held in this matter on April 21, 2014, the ALJ heard
testimony from Niemeyer, and Denise Waddell, a vocational
time of the hearing, Niemeyer was 60 years old, and living
with her husband and 26-year-old son (Tr. 41, 55). She
described the symptoms associated with her stress and
depression, discussed the medications she had taken for her
psychological problems, and explained how she believed her
psychological symptoms impacted her ability to maintain
fulltime employment (Tr. 42-67). She also testified that,
while working in a school cafeteria, her knees had started
hurting, but that she had not been treated for her knee pain
because she did not have insurance (Tr. 45-46, 62). She
further testified that her current part-time employer allows
her to sit down and take breaks when her knees start hurting
(Tr. 62, 67).
Testimony of the Vocational Expert
asked the vocational expert, Denise Waddell, to assume an
individual of Niemeyer's age, education, and work history
with the ability to perform “a full range of exertional
work, ” but with the following limitation:
“limited to performing simple and routine tasks
throughout the workday with no more than occasional
interaction with supervisors and co-workers which I'll
define as cumulatively comprising no more than one third of
their workday in . . . a[n] occupation setting where they
would not be required to communicate and interact with the
general public on behalf of the employer.” (Tr. 68-69).
Waddell opined that such an individual would be able to work
as a linen room attendant, Dictionary of Occupational Titles
(“DOT”) number 222.387-030, with 530 such jobs
available in Missouri, and 38, 900 nationally (Tr. 69).
Waddell further opined that such an individual would be able
to work as a lamination assembler, DOT number 726.687-026,
with 850 such jobs in Missouri, and 65, 000 nationally (Tr.
69-70). Waddell initially opined that such an individual
would also be able to work as an order filler, DOT number
922.687-058, with 3, 400 jobs in Missouri and 102, 000
nationally; however, she later determined that such
employment would be precluded because such an individual
would not be able to maintain the necessary production pace
(Tr. 70-72). Notably, the ALJ did not include any physical
limitations in the hypothetical posed to Waddell, and all
three proposed jobs required a “medium”
exertional level (Tr. 68-69).
Counsel's Request for ...