United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
action seeks judicial review of the Acting Commissioner of
Social Security's (“the Commissioner”)
decision denying Plaintiff Ray Irwin's application for
Social Security disability insurance benefits under Title II
of the Social Security Act (“the Act”), 42 U.S.C.
§§ 401-434. The Administrative Law Judge
(“ALJ”) found Plaintiff had severe impairments of
anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder
(“PTSD”), but retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform past work as a car
porter, or alternately, to work as an industrial cleaner,
order filler, and machine finisher.
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 his application for disability insurance benefits on
March 5, 2015, alleging a disability onset date of January 1,
2010. The Commissioner denied the application at the initial
claim level, and Plaintiff appealed the denial to an ALJ. An
ALJ held a hearing and on February 3, 2016, ruled that
Plaintiff was not disabled.
Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for review on
March 24, 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. § 405(g).
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. §
makes three arguments. He contends the ALJ erred at Step Four
because he: (1) failed to weigh a doctor's medical
opinion and (2) erred in finding he could perform past
relevant work. He also argues the ALJ erred at Step Five in
finding that (3) he could work as an industrial cleaner,
order filler, or machine finisher.
arguments are unavailing.
The ALJ considered Dr. ...