United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
RYAN J. WAYNE, Sr., Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Acting Commissioner of Social Security Administration, Defendant.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
EDWARD AUTREY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Plaintiff's request for
judicial review under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g) of the final
decision of Defendant denying Plaintiff's application for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income under Titles II and XVI of the Social Security Act
(Act), 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434, 1381-1385. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court will affirm the
Commissioner's denial of Plaintiff's applications.
March 27, 2014, Administrative Law Judge Mary Ann Poulose
conducted a hearing. Plaintiff appeared in person and the
Vocational Expert, Leanne Bloom, appeared as well. The ALJ
presided over the hearing from Chicago, Illinois.
resided alone at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff was born
on June 20, 1982. He was 32 years old at the time of the
hearing. Plaintiff completed high school.
has prior work experience as a bartender and front of house
manager. He also has experience as a waiter. His first job
was as busser in the food and beverage industry. All of his
work experience involved lifting anywhere from 20 to 50
pounds from time to time.
examination by counsel, Plaintiff testified that he does not
require assistance with his personal needs on a day today
basis. He testified typically he is at home. He keeps his leg
propped up or iced up. When he does chores around his home he
does it in intervals because it hurts to stand for long
periods. He also stated that his grandmother comes by and
helps with sweeping, mopping, and things like mirrors and
bathtubs, as it is difficult for him to kneel.
testified he cannot stand or walk for long periods. Walking
for longer than 25 minutes causes pain on both sides of his
hip and requires him to sit down for recovery from the pain.
He also noted pain in his leg which is helped by elevating
his leg on a couple of pillows.
was testimony from Leanne Bloom, the Vocational Expert. Ms.
Bloom, testified and classified the past work experience of
the Plaintiff in relation to the Dictionary of Occupational
Titles. Based upon all of those considerations and the stated
hypotheticals of the ALJ, including stated limitations, the
Vocational Expert concluded there were jobs at the sedentary
work level available for Plaintiff.
determined that Plaintiff was not entitled to a finding of
disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review on February 23, 2016. The decision of the ALJ is
now the final decision for review by this court.
issues in a Social Security case are whether the final
decision of the Commissioner is consistent with the Social
Security Act, regulations, and applicable case law, and
whether the findings of fact by the ALJ are supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Here the
Plaintiff asserts the specific issues in this case are
whether the ALJ properly evaluated Plaintiff's subjective
allegations and whether she properly determined
Plaintiff's residual functional capacity.
for Determining Disability
Social Security Act defines as disabled a person who is
“unable to engage in any substantial gainful activity
by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental
impairment which can be expected to result in death or which
has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period
of not less than twelve months.” 42 U.S.C. §
1382c(a)(3)(A); see also Hurd v. Astrue, 621 F.3d
734, 738 (8th Cir.2010). The impairment must be “of
such severity that [the claimant] is not only unable to do
his previous work but cannot, considering his age, education,
and work experience, engage in any other kind of substantial
gainful work which exists in the national economy, regardless
of whether such work exists in the immediate area in which he
lives, or whether a specific job vacancy exists for him, or
whether he would be hired if he applied for work.” 42
U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(B).
Court must consider evidence that both supports and detracts
from the Commissioner's decision but cannot reverse the
decision because substantial evidence also exists in the
record that would have supported a contrary outcome, or
because it would have decided the case differently. See
Andrews v. Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015). If
the Court finds that the evidence supports two inconsistent
positions and one of those positions represents the
Commissioner's findings, the Court must affirm the
Commissioner's decision. Wright v. Colvin, 789
F.3d 847, 852 (8th Cir. 2015). The Eighth Circuit has stated
that “[w]e defer heavily to the findings and
conclusions of the Social Security Administration.”
Id. (quoting Hurd v. Astrue, 621 F.3d 734,
738 (8th Cir. 2010)).
five-step regulatory framework is used to determine whether
an individual claimant qualifies for disability benefits. 20
C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a), 416.920(a); see also
McCoy v. Astrue, 648 F.3d 605, 611 (8th Cir.2011)
(discussing the five-step process). At Step One, the ALJ
determines whether the claimant is currently engaging in
“substantial gainful activity”; if so, then he is
not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.1520(a)(4)(I),
416.920(a)(4)(I); McCoy, 648 F.3d at 611. At Step
Two, the ALJ determines whether the claimant has a severe
impairment, which is “any impairment or combination of
impairments which significantly limits [the claimant's]
physical or mental ability to do basic work
activities”; if the claimant does not have a severe
impairment, he is not disabled. 20 C.F.R. §§
404.1520(a) (4)(ii), 404.1520(c), 416.920(a)(4)(ii),
416.920(c); McCoy, 648 F.3d at 611. At Step Three,
the ALJ evaluates whether the claimant's impairment meets
or equals one of the impairments listed in 20 C.F.R. Part
404, Subpart P, Appendix 1 (the ...