United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
TIMOTHY W. DETTERMAN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
CATHERINE D. PERRY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Timothy W. Detterman brings this action under 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g) for judicial review of the Commissioner's
final decision finding his disability to have ended March 15,
2014. Because the basis for the Commissioner's final
decision is unclear, I cannot say that it is supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. I will
therefore reverse the decision and remand the matter to the
Commissioner for further proceedings.
February 4, 2009, the Social Security Administration (SSA)
awarded Detterman benefits on his application for disability
insurance benefits, finding him disabled as of August 30,
2008, because of schizophrenic disorder-paranoid and other
functional psychotic disorder. On March 4, 2014, during
periodic review for continued entitlement to benefits, the
SSA determined that Detterman achieved medical improvement to
a degree that enabled him to perform work. (Tr. 99-102.) An
SSA hearing officer thereafter found that Detterman was no
longer disabled as of March 2014 (Tr. 122-33), and
Detterman's receipt of benefits ceased June 30, 2014 (Tr.
Detterman's request, a hearing was held before an
Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) on December 11, 2014, at which
Detterman and his mother testified. (Tr. 63-82.) A vocational
expert later responded to written interrogatories put to her
by the ALJ. (Tr. 300-04.) On May 29, 2015, the ALJ issued a
decision finding that as of March 15, 2014, Detterman could
perform work as it existed in the national economy and thus
was no longer disabled. (Tr. 45-56.) On July 11, 2016, the
Appeals Council denied Detterman's request for review of
the ALJ's decision. (Tr. 1-5.) The ALJ's
determination thus stands as the final decision of the
Commissioner. 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
action for judicial review, Detterman contends that the
ALJ's decision is not supported by substantial evidence
on the record as a whole. Detterman specifically argues that
the ALJ erred by failing to include mental limitations in the
residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment, especially
given that the ALJ credited medical opinion evidence that
Detterman experienced such limitations. Detterman also
contends that the vocational expert's interrogatory
answers conflict with the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles (DOT) and that the ALJ erred by failing to
identify this conflict and resolve it. Detterman asks that I
reverse the Commissioner's final decision and order
reinstatement of his disability benefits, or that the matter
be remanded for further proceedings. For the reasons that
follow, I will remand the matter to the Commissioner for
Records and Other Evidence Before the ALJ
time of the hearing in December 2014, Detterman was
thirty-three years old and had been living with his mother,
who is his legal guardian, since July 2013. (Tr. 80.)
Immediately prior to moving in with his mother, Detterman
spent four years in hospitals and residential care facilities
for treatment of schizophrenia. (Tr. 77.) He currently works
part-time as a dishwasher. (Tr. 70.)
respect to the medical records and other evidence of record,
I adopt Detterman's recitation of facts set forth in his
Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts (ECF #15-1) to the
extent they are admitted by the Commissioner (ECF #20-1). I
also adopt the additional facts set forth in the
Commissioner's Statement of Additional Material Facts
(ECF #20-2), which Detterman admits in their entirety.
Together, these statements provide a fair and accurate
description of the relevant record before the Court.
specific facts will be discussed as needed to address the
eligible for disability insurance benefits under the Social
Security Act, Detterman must prove that he is disabled.
Pearsall v. Massanari, 274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir.
2001); Baker v. Secretary of Health & Human
Servs., 955 F.2d 552, 555 (8th Cir. 1992). The Social
Security Act defines disability as the “inability to
engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any
medically determinable physical or mental impairment which
can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A). An
individual will be declared disabled “only if his
physical or mental impairment or impairments are of such
severity that he is not only unable to do his previous work
but cannot, considering his age, education, and work
experience, engage in any other kind of substantial gainful
work which exists in the national economy.” 42 U.S.C.
claimant becomes entitled to disability benefits, the
Commissioner must periodically review the claimant's
continued entitlement. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594(a). If there
has been a medical improvement in a claimant's
impairments and such improvement relates to the
claimant's ability to work, the disability will be found
to have ended if the claimant is able to engage in
substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1594(a),
(b)(3). The claimant has a “continuing burden” to
demonstrate that he is disabled. Nelson v. Sullivan,946 F.2d 1314, 1315 (8th Cir. 1991) (per curiam) (citing
Mathews v. Eldridge,424 U.S. 319, ...