United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Southeastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Mark Kinder 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.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Kinder's multiple severe 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.
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.
reasons discussed below, the decision of the Commissioner
will be affirmed.
filed his application for SSI on August 19, 2012. (Tr.
148-49.) He alleged that he became disabled on June 19, 2012,
due to neck and back problems, anxiety, depression, possible
high blood pressure, right shoulder pain, numbness in his
left leg and feet, general weakness in his lower body, and
“extreme pain all over.” (Tr. 148-49, 243.)
Kinder's claim was denied initially. (Tr. 162-65.)
Following an administrative hearing, Kinder's claim was
denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated September 12,
2014. (Tr. 13-21.) Kinder 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 November
18, 2015. (Tr. 9, 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, Kinder argues that the ALJ erred “in
failing to provide an RFC supported by substantial evidence
in that the ALJ did not properly weigh the opinion of the
treating nurse practitioner and did not perform an adequate
credibility analysis before discounting Kinder's reports
of limitations.” (Doc. 17 at 8.)
found that Kinder had not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since his application date of August 17, 2012. (Tr.
addition, the ALJ concluded that Kinder had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease of the cervical
and lumbar spine, anxiety, and migraine headaches.
Id. The ALJ found that Kinder 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. Id.
Kinder's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find that
the claimant has the residual functional capacity (RFC) to
perform light work as defined in 20 CFR 416.967(b) except he
can occasionally climb ramps and stairs, and crouch. He
should never climb ladders, ropes, or scaffolds, kneel or
crawl. He should avoid concentrated exposure to vibration and
hazards such as unprotected heights and dangerous machinery.
He should avoid moderate exposure to irritants such as fumes,
odors, and strong chemicals and fresh paint. He is capable of
performing simple, routine tasks in a low stress work
environment, which is defined as where there is only
occasional contact with supervisors, co-workers, and the
general public, and only occasional workplace changes. He
should be able to sit or stand for 1-3 minutes every hour
while remaining at his workstation.
determining Kinder's RFC, the ALJ found that Kinder's
allegations regarding his limitations were not entirely
credible. (Tr. 18.) The ALJ also discredited the opinion of
Kinder's treating nurse practitioner Kathleen Arnzen,
FNP. (Tr. 19.)
found that Kinder was unable to perform any past relevant
work. (Tr. 20.) The ALJ noted that a vocational expert
testified that Kinder could perform jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, such as
electrical accessory assembler and bench assembler. (Tr. 21.)
The ALJ therefore concluded that Kinder has not been under a
disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, since
August 17, 2012. Id.
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for supplemental security income
filed on August 17, 2012, the claimant is not disabled under
section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act.
Applicable Law III.
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 ...