United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Robin Brown brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of her application
for Disability Insurance Benefits (“DIB”) under
Title II of the Social Security Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Brown's severe back impairment, she was not
disabled as she had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform jobs that exist in significant
numbers in the national economy.
matter is pending before the undersigned United States
Magistrate Judge, with consent of the parties, pursuant to 28
U.S.C. § 636(c). A summary of the entire record is
presented in the parties' briefs and is repeated here
only to the extent necessary.
following reasons, the decision of the Commissioner will be
filed an application for DIB on January 13, 2014, claiming
that she became unable to work due to her disabling condition
on September 21, 2012, due to degenerative disc disease. (Tr.
230-31.) Brown's claim was denied initially. (Tr. 83.)
Following an administrative hearing, Brown's claim was
denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated June 26, 2015.
(Tr. 11-20.) Brown then filed a request for review of the
ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council of the Social
Security Administration (SSA), which was denied on July 18,
2016. (Tr. 1-4.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the
final decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R.
'' 404.981, 416.1481.
instant action, Brown argues that the ALJ erred “when
determining Brown's RFC in that she erroneously
discounted the well-supported opinion of Brown's treating
physician, failed to otherwise support the RFC with
substantial evidence, and did not properly consider
Brown's subjective reports.” (Doc. 12 at 7.)
The ALJ 's Determination
found that Brown meets the insured status requirements of the
Social Security Act through December 31, 2017, and has not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since September 21,
2012, the alleged onset date. (Tr. 13.)
addition, the ALJ concluded that Brown had the following
severe impairments: degenerative disc disease. Id.
The ALJ further found that Brown's medically determinable
impairment of major depressive order was not severe. (Tr.
15.) The ALJ concluded that Brown did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that meets or medically equals
the severity of one of the listed impairments. Id.
Brown's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b), meaning that the claimant is capable of
lifting or carrying 20 pounds occasionally, lifting or
carrying 10 pounds frequently, sitting for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday, and standing or walking for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday. The claimant is capable of twisting,
climbing, balancing, stooping, crawling, crouching and
kneeling for up to 1/3 of the day.
found that Brown's allegations regarding her limitations
were not entirely credible. (Tr. 16.) In determining
Brown's RFC, the ALJ indicated that she was assigning
“no weight” to the opinion of treating physician
Jeffrey Faron, M.D., regarding Brown's limitations. (Tr.
further found that Brown was capable of performing past
relevant work as a security guard and assistant collections
supervisor. (Tr. 18.) The ALJ made the alternative finding
that there were other jobs existing in the national economy
that Brown was capable of performing, such as small parts
assembler, unskilled cashier, and laundry worker. (Tr.
18-19.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Brown has not been
under a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act,
from September 21, 2012, through the date of the decision.
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on January 12, 2014, the
claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of
the Social Security Act.
A. Standard of Review
decision of the Commissioner must be affirmed if it is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g); Richardson v. Perales, 402
U.S. 389, 401 (1971); Estes v. Barnhart, 275 F.3d
722, 724 (8th Cir. 2002). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance of the evidence, but enough that a reasonable
person would find it adequate to support the conclusion.
Johnson v. Apfel, 240 F.3d 1145, 1147 (8th Cir.
2001). This “substantial evidence test, ”
however, is “more than a mere search of the record for
evidence supporting the Commissioner's findings.”
Coleman v. Astrue, 498 F.3d 767, 770 (8th Cir. 2007)
(internal quotation ...