United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
Carmen Boston-Sisney (“Plaintiff”) petitions for
review of an adverse decision by Defendant, the Acting
Commissioner of Social Security (“Commissioner”).
Plaintiff applied for supplemental security income under
Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§
1381-1383f. The Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”)
found Plaintiff had severe impairments of mild degenerative
disc disease, mild peripheral neuropathy, depression,
anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, and a cognitive
disorder, but retained the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform work as a cafeteria attendant,
garment sorter, and folding machine operator.
carefully reviewing the record and the parties'
arguments, the Court finds the ALJ's opinion is supported
by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. The
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed her application on April 23, 2013, initially alleging a
disability onset date of December 31, 2007, later amended to
April 23, 2013. The Commissioner denied the application at
the initial claim level, and Plaintiff appealed the denial to
an ALJ. The ALJ held a hearing, and on April 10, 2015, issued
a decision finding Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals
Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on April
25, 2016, leaving the ALJ's decision as the
Commissioner's final decision. Plaintiff has exhausted
all administrative remedies and judicial review is now
appropriate under 42 U.S.C. § 1383(c)(3).
federal court's review of the Commissioner's decision
to deny disability benefits is limited to determining whether
the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Chaney v. Colvin,
812 F.3d 672, 676 (8th Cir. 2016). Substantial evidence is
less than a preponderance, but is enough evidence that a
reasonable mind would find it sufficient to support the
Commissioner's decision. Id. In making this
assessment, the court considers evidence that detracts from
the Commissioner's decision, as well as evidence that
supports it. Id. The court must “defer
heavily” to the Commissioner's findings and
conclusions. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d 847, 852
(8th Cir. 2015). The court may reverse the Commissioner's
decision only if it falls outside of the available zone of
choice; a decision is not outside this zone simply because
the evidence also points to an alternate outcome. Buckner
v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th Cir. 2011).
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether a claimant is
disabled, that is, unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable
impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §
argues the ALJ erred by: (1) not supporting his finding that
Plaintiff did not meet Listing 12.05C; and (2) discounting
The record as a whole supports a finding that Plaintiff does
not meet Listing 12.05C.
Plaintiff argues remand is required because the ALJ did not
support his finding that Plaintiff did not meet Listing
12.05C with substantial evidence because the ALJ discounted
the validity of Plaintiff's IQ score and considered her
Three, the Plaintiff must show her impairment or combination
of impairments meet or equal all of the specified criteria in
a listing. See Johnson v. Barnhart, 390 F.3d 1067,
1070 (8th Cir. 2004). Under Listing 12.05, a claimant must
meet both the capsule definition of the listing and at least
one of the four severity prongs. See Maresh v.
Barnhart, 438 F.3d 897, 899 (8th Cir. 2006). Listing
12.05 requires a threshold showing that the claimant suffers
from “significantly subaverage general intellectual
functioning with deficits in adaptive functioning initially
manifested during the developmental period [i.e., before the
age of twenty-two].” 20 C.F.R. pt. 404, subpt. P, app.
1, § 12.05. Then, the claimant must show she has met the
requirements of one of the severity prongs. Prong C ...