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Wasson v. Berryhill

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

April 28, 2017

DANNY WASSON, 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 Danny Wasson's (“Wasson”) application for disability insurance benefits under Title II of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 401, et seq.

         I. Background

         Wasson filed an application for disability insurance benefits on February 16, 2012, with an amended onset date of disability of August 13, 2011.[2] After his application was denied at the initial administrative level, he requested a hearing before an administrative law judge (“ALJ”). Following hearings on January 31, 2014 and August 22, 2014, the ALJ issued a written decision on September 25, 2014, finding that Wasson 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. Wasson's request for review by the Appeals Council was denied on September 19, 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).

         II. Facts

         The Court adopts Wasson's Statement of Facts (Doc. No. 16-1) and the additional facts set forth in Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts (Doc. No. 21-1). 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 activity and impairment;
(5) The corroboration by third parties of the claimant's physical impairment;
(6) The testimony of vocational experts based upon prior hypothetical questions which fairly set forth the ...

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