United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Christina Marie Brady brings this action pursuant to 42
U.S.C. § 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social
Security Administration (“SSA”)
Commissioner's decision, following continuing disability
review finding that she was no longer entitled to
previously-granted disability benefits under Titles II and
XVI of the Social Security Act. This 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.
September 22, 2009, Brady was found disabled beginning May
15, 2008, under the applications for disability benefits that
she filed on April 11, 2008. (Tr. 65-71.) The ALJ noted that
medical improvement was “expected with appropriate
treatment.” (Tr. 70.) Consequently, the ALJ recommended
a continuing disability review in one year. Id.
December 23, 2013, the SSA reviewed Brady's claim for
continuing disability, and concluded that Brady was no longer
disabled as of December 15, 2013. (Tr. 96-100.) Brady
appealed the termination of benefits, and the termination was
affirmed upon reconsideration. (Tr. 104-115.) On January 30,
2015, following a hearing, an ALJ found that Brown's
disability ended on December 15, 2013, due to medical
improvement. (Tr. 14-27.) On May 18, 2016, the Appeals
Council denied Brady's request for review of the
ALJ's decision. (Tr. 1-3, 6.) Thus, the decision of the
ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
instant action, Brady argues that the ALJ “failed to
fully and fairly develop the record.” (Doc. 17 at 3.)
The ALJ's Determination
made the following findings:
1. The most recent favorable medical decision finding that
the claimant was disabled is the decision dated September 22,
2009. This is known as the “comparison point
decision” or CPD.
2. At the time of the CPD, the claimant had the following
medically determinable impairments: degenerative disc disease
of the lumbar spine, shoulder pain, obesity, dysthymic
disorder, hypochondriasis and a personality disorder. These
impairments were found to result in the residual functional
capacity to perform sedentary work as defined in 20 CFR
404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except she is unable to do any
prolonged sitting, standing or walking. She may occasionally
reach, push, pull, balance or climb ladders or scaffolds. She
should avoid all exposure to unprotected heights and moving
mechanical parts. Finally, she would be limited to performing
simple routine tasks in a low-stress environment with limited
interaction with supervisors and co-workers.
3. Through December 15, 2013, the date the claimant's
disability ended, the claimant did not engage in substantial
gainful activity (20 CFR 404.1594(f)(1)).
4. The medical evidence establishes that, as of December 15,
2013, the claimant had the following medically determinable
impairments: tendonitis of left shoulder and bilateral
ankles, obesity, and depression.
5. Since December 15, 2013, the claimant did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments which met or
medically equaled the severity of an impairment listed in 20
CFR Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (20 CFR 404.1525 and
6. Medical improvement occurred as of December 15, 2013 (20
7. As of December 15, 2013, the impairments present at the
time of the CPD had decreased in medical severity to the
point where the claimant had the residual functional capacity
to perform a full range of work at all exertional levels but
with the following nonexertional limitations: She can
frequently reach overhead with both upper extremities.
8. The claimant's medical improvement is related to the
ability to work because it resulted in an increase in the
claimant's residual functional capacity (20 CFR
9. As of December 15, 2013, the claimant continued to have a
severe impairment or combination of impairments (20 CFR
10. Based on the impairments present as of December 15, 2013,
the claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform
a full range of work at all exertional levels but with the
following nonexertional limitations: She can (1) stand, sit
and walk for four hours at a time and 8 hours in a workday,
each; (2) frequently reach overhead with both upper
extremities, and has no other limitations with regards to her
upper extremities; (3) frequently climb stairs, ramps,
ladders, and scaffolds, and she can frequently crawl; (4)
have occasional exposure to unprotected heights; and (5)
tolerate frequent exposure to moving mechanical parts.
Further, she can (1) understand, remember, and carry out
simple instructions; (2) have occasional interaction with
supervisors, co-workers, and the public; and (3) make simple,
work-related decisions, and tolerate occasional change in
11. As of December 15, 2013, the claimant was unable to
perform past relevant work ...