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Western v. Berryhill

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

April 20, 2017

RONDA HOF WESTERN, Plaintiff,
v.
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, [1]Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

          JOHN A. ROSS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This is an action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner of Social Security's final decision denying Ronda Hof Western's (“Western”) application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq.

         I. Background

         Western, who was born on April 9, 1966, filed an application for disability insurance benefits on April 8, 2013, alleging disability beginning March 16, 2013, due to pain and complications resulting from fibromyalgia. After her application was denied at the initial administrative level, she requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). Following a hearing on October 21, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision on December 10, 2014, finding that Western had the residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform certain jobs that exist in significant numbers in the national economy, and was thus not disabled under the Act. Western's request for review by the Appeals Council was denied on February 25, 2016. Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner. See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000).

         II. Facts

         The Court adopts Western's Statement of Uncontroverted Facts (Doc. No. 14-1) and Defendant's Statement of Additional Facts (Doc. No. 19-2). The Court's review of the record shows that the adopted facts are accurate and complete. Specific facts will be discussed as part of the analysis.

         III. Standards

         The court's role on judicial review is to determine whether the ALJ's findings are supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. Johnson v. Astrue, 628 F.3d 991, 992 (8th Cir. 2009). “Substantial evidence is that which a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion.” Id. (citations omitted). The court may not reverse merely because substantial evidence exists in the record that would support a contrary outcome or because the court would have decided the case differently. See Krogmeier v. Barnhart, 294 F.3d 1019, 1022 (8th Cir. 2002).

         To determine whether the ALJ's final decision is supported by substantial evidence, the Court is required to review the administrative record as a whole and to consider:

(1) The findings of credibility made by the ALJ;
(2) The education, background, work history, and age of the claimant;
(3) The medical evidence given by the claimant's treating physicians;
(4) The subjective complaints of pain and description of the claimant's physical ...

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