United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Regina Odom 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 Odom's severe physical and 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 November 16, 2012, claiming
that she became unable to work on September 20, 2009, because
of fibromyalgia, kidney issues, neuropathy, endometriosis and
“ovary issues, ” bursitis in both hips,
tendonitis and left knee surgery, and migraines. (Tr. 73,
207.) Odom's claim was denied initially. (Tr. 85-89.)
Odom subsequently amended her alleged onset of disability
date to December 4, 2012. (Tr. 57.) Following an
administrative hearing, Odom's claim was denied in a
written opinion by an ALJ, dated May 26, 2015. (Tr. 9-20.)
Odom 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 23, 2016. (Tr.
4, 1-3.) 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, Odom argues that the ALJ's
“findings of residual functional capacity do not find
support in ‘some' medical evidence as required
under the standards contained in Singh and
Lauer.” (Doc. 16 at 4.)
The ALJ's Determination
found that Odom last met the insured status requirements of
the Social Security Act on December 31, 2012, and did not
engage in substantial gainful activity during the period from
her alleged onset date of December 4, 2012, through her date
last insured. (Tr. 11.)
addition, the ALJ concluded that Odom had the following
severe impairments through the date last insured:
fibromyalgia; neuropathy; obesity; chondromalacia of the left
knee; cervical degenerative disk disease; bipolar disorder;
and depression. Id. The ALJ found that Odom did not
have an impairment or combination of impairments that meets
or medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments. (Tr. 12.)
Odom's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, I find
that, through the date last insured, the claimant had the
residual functional capacity to perform light work as defined
in 20 CFR 404.1567(b) except the claimant is limited to
sitting for four hours at a time, and eight hours in a work
day. The claimant is limited to stand/walk for two hours at a
time, and six hours in a work day. The claimant can
frequently reach in all directions and handle, finger, feel,
push, and pull with both upper extremities. The claimant can
frequently operate foot controls with both lower extremities.
The claimant can occasionally climb stairs, ramps, ladders
and scaffolds. The claimant can occasionally crawl. The
claimant can frequently balance, stoop, kneel, and crouch.
The claimant can have occasional exposure to unprotected
heights and moving mechanical parts. The claimant can have
frequent exposure to humidity and wetness, extreme cold and
vibration. The claimant can frequently operate a motor
vehicle. Further, the claimant is limited to understanding,
remembering, and carrying out simple instructions and making
simple work related decisions and having occasional
interaction with supervisors, co-workers and the public.
found that Odom's allegations regarding the extent of her
limitations were not entirely credible. (Tr. 16.) In
determining Odom's physical RFC, the ALJ indicated that
she was adopting the opinion of medical expert, Anne Winkler,
M.D. (Tr. 18.)
further found that Odom was unable to perform past relevant
work, but was capable of performing other jobs existing in
the national economy, such as collator operator, mail clerk,
and marker. (Tr. 34-18-19.) The ALJ therefore concluded that
Odom was not under a disability, as defined in the Social
Security Act, at any time from December 4, 2012, the alleged
onset date, through December 31, 2012, the date last insured.
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on November 16, 2012, the
claimant was not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) of
the Social Security Act through December 31, 2012, the date
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 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 ...