United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
BRENDA L. BROWN, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL,  Acting Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Brenda L. 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 mental impairments, 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 March 27, 2013,
claiming that she became unable to work on September 8, 2012,
because of depression, attention deficit disorder,
obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, fatigue, and bipolar
disorder. (Tr. 159-60, 215.) Brown's claim was denied
initially. (Tr. 89-93.) Following an administrative hearing,
Brown's claim was denied in a written opinion by an ALJ,
dated April 30, 2015. (Tr. 24-35.) 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 June 2, 2016. (Tr. 9, 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 “in
determining Claimant's mental impairments did not equal
listings 12.04, 12.06 or 12.08.” (Doc. 17 at 5.) Brown
also argues that the ALJ erred “in failing to give more
weight to treating doctor, Dr. Onik's opinion and
treating CSS, Pamela Moller.” Id. at 11.
The ALJ's Determination
found that Brown last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on September 30, 2012, and did not
engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from
her alleged onset date of September 8, 2012, through her date
last insured of September 30, 2012. (Tr. 26.)
addition, the ALJ concluded that Brown had the following
severe impairments: attention deficit disorder
(“ADD”), bipolar disorder, and generalized
anxiety disorder. Id. The ALJ found that Brown did
not have an impairment or combination of impairments that
meets or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments. (Tr. 27.)
Brown's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that, through the date last insured, the
claimant had the residual functional capacity to perform a
full range of work at all exertional levels but with the
following non-exertional limitations: The claimant can
perform simple, routine tasks. The claimant is limited to
occasional changes in a routine work setting with only
occasional contact with the public or co-workers.
found that Brown's allegations regarding the extent of
her limitations were not credible. (Tr. 30.) In determining
Brown's RFC, the ALJ indicated that he was assigning
considerable weight to the opinions of consultative
psychologist Frank Froman, Ed.D.; and to the opinion of the
state agency psychologist Mark Altomari, Ph.D., regarding
Brown's limitations. (Tr. 33.) The ALJ accorded little
weight to the opinions of treating primary care doctor Jan F.
Onik, D.O.; and to the opinions of case worker Pamela Moller,
further found that Brown was unable to perform past relevant
work, but was capable of performing other jobs existing in
the national economy, such as cleaner, kitchen helper, and
laundry worker. (Tr. 34-35.) The ALJ therefore concluded that
Brown was not under a disability, as defined in the Social
Security Act, at any time from September 8, 2012, the alleged
onset date, through September 30, 2012, the date last
insured. (Tr. 35.)
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on March 27, 2013, the
claimant was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of
the Social Security Act through September 30, 2012, the date
Applicable Law III.
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 marks and citation omitted).
“Substantial evidence on the record as a whole . . .
requires a more scrutinizing analysis.” Id.
(internal quotation marks and citations omitted).
determine whether the Commissioner's decision is
supported by substantial evidence on the record as a whole,
the Court must review the entire administrative record and
1. The credibility findings made by the ALJ.
2. The plaintiff's vocational factors.
3. The medical evidence from treating and consulting
4. The plaintiff's subjective complaints relating to
exertional and non-exertional ...