United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern 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 Zahida Pejmanovic's (“Plaintiff”)
application for disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et
seq. and Supplemental Security Income under Title XVI of
the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1381, et
filed an application for disability insurance benefits on
June 25, 2013, alleging disability beginning January 15,
2010. After her application was denied at the initial
administrative level, she requested a hearing before an
administrative law judge (“ALJ”). Following a
hearing on September 30, 2014, the ALJ issued a written
decision on October 10, 2014, finding that Plaintiff had the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to perform
her past relevant work and was thus not disabled under the
Act. Plaintiff's request for review by the Appeals
Council was denied on December 17, 2015. Thus, the decision
of the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
See Sims v. Apfel, 530 U.S. 103, 107 (2000). In her
appeal of the Commissioner's decision, Plaintiff
challenges the ALJ's RFC and credibility determinations.
is forty-nine years old with an eighth grade education (Tr.
28-29). She has worked in a laundry (Tr. 41) and as a bottle
packer (Tr. 43). Plaintiff alleges disability due to severe
abdominal pain that at times causes her to lose consciousness
(Tr. 29-30). She testified that she frequently left work
early or been absent as a result and had not been called back
to work after January 15, 2010, her alleged onset date (Tr.
29-30, 41-42). Plaintiff was receiving medical treatment at
that time but stopped prescribed medication due to adverse
side effects of throat and neck discomfort (Tr. 30-31). She
did not receive further medical treatment until 2012 due to a
loss of medical insurance (Tr. 31). Plaintiff was prescribed
medication for stomach pain as well as shoulder and spine
pain (Tr. 31). She was also prescribed medication for high
cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety (Tr.
32). Her medications caused her to vomit at times and she
generally did not feel well (Tr. 32).
typically went to bed at midnight and was up at 5 a.m. (Tr.
33). She wakes frequently during the night because she has
bad dreams; however, she never naps during the day (Tr. 33).
She did little at home but walk through the house because of
the pain she experiences in her right shoulder and arm. It
was her testimony that she has had this pain for four or five
years, but it has recently become worse (Tr. 33-34). She does
not wear a brace or any other supportive device on her arm,
back or legs (Tr. 34). Plaintiff described some difficulty
showering and doing household chores, but stated she was able
to dress and tie her shoes (Tr. 35). She had a car and drove
short distances (Tr. 39). She also walked short distances as
needed. Plaintiff rarely left home other than to shop or go
to the doctor (Tr. 34-35), and socialized only with family
(Tr. 40). She said she could not stand or walk for more than
perhaps 30 minutes due to pain and dizziness and nausea (Tr.
36-37). She had vomiting episodes 3-4 times per day (Tr. 37).
She would often have a headache and need to sit and rest (Tr.
37). She is very anxious and had difficulty starting and
finishing tasks such as washing dishes (Tr. 38). When she
baby-sits for her granddaughter, someone is always in the
house with her. Her anxiety had been ongoing at least 20
years with traumatic recollections of war in her home
country, Bosnia (Tr. 37-38, 41).
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).
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
(3) The medical evidence given by the claimant's treating
(4) The subjective complaints of pain and description of the
claimant's physical ...