United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Western Division
ORDER AND OPINION AFFIRMING COMMISSIONER'S FINAL
DECISION DENYING BENEFITS
D. SMITH, SENIOR JUDGE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT.
is Plaintiff's appeal of the Commissioner of Social
Security's final decision denying his applications for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income. For the following reasons, the Commissioner's
decision is affirmed.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Court's review of the Commissioner's decision is
limited to a determination whether the decision is
“supported by substantial evidence on the record as a
whole. Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance
but…enough that a reasonable mind would find it
adequate to support the conclusion.” Andrews v.
Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015) (citations
omitted). “As long as substantial evidence in the
record supports the Commissioner's decision, we may not
reverse it because substantial evidence exists in the record
that would have supported a contrary outcome, or because we
would have decided the case differently.” Cline v.
Colvin, 771 F.3d 1098, 1102 (8th Cir. 2014) (citation
omitted). Though advantageous to the Commissioner, this
standard also requires the Court consider evidence that
fairly detracts from the final decision. Anderson v.
Astrue, 696 F.3d 790, 793 (8th Cir. 2015) (citation
omitted). Substantial evidence means “more than a mere
scintilla” of evidence; rather, it is relevant evidence
that a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a
conclusion. Gragg v. Astrue, 615 F.3d 932, 938 (8th
was born in 1991, and is a high school graduate. R. at 854.
Plaintiff previously worked as a sandwich maker, pizza
delivery driver, production assembler, and marking clerk. R.
at 235-40, 878. Plaintiff applied for disability and
disability insurance benefits as well as supplemental
security income, alleging a disability onset date of June 24,
2013. R. at 10. Plaintiff's applications were denied, and
he requested a hearing before an administrative law judge
(“ALJ”). R. 89-99. A hearing was held on December
11, 2015. R. at 850-880. In February 2016, ALJ Raymond Souza
issued his decision, finding Plaintiff was not disabled. R.
rendering his decision, the ALJ found Plaintiff has the
following severe impairments: anxiety, depression,
Asperger's syndrome, ADHD, PTSD, and personality
disorder. R. at 12. The ALJ determined Plaintiff has the
residual functional capacity (“RFC”) to:
[P]erform a full range of work at all exertional levels with
the following nonexertional limitations: he should avoid all
use of hazardous machinery and all exposure to unprotected
heights; he is limited to simple work (defined in the DOT as
SVP levels 1 and 2), routine tasks, and occasional changes in
the work setting, with no strict production quotas as
emphasis on a per shift rather than per hour basis, and only
occasional interaction with the general public, coworkers,
R. at 14. Based upon the RFC and the vocational expert's
(“VE”) testimony, the ALJ concluded Plaintiff
could work as a linen room attendant, counter supply worker,
and change house attendant. R. at 18. Plaintiff appealed the
ALJ's decision to the Appeals Council, which denied his
appeal. R. at 1-4. Plaintiff now appeals to this Court.
argues the ALJ's decision must be reversed because (1)
the ALJ failed to consider whether Plaintiff met Listing
12.05C for intellectual disability, and (2) Plaintiff's
RFC is not supported by the substantial evidence of the
argues the ALJ failed to consider whether he met Listing
12.05C for intellectual disability, and argues he meets this
listing. When determining whether a claimant is disabled, the
ALJ employs a five-step process. Jones v. Astrue,
619 F.3d 963, 968 (8th Cir. 2010). Under step three, which is
relevant to this Court's decision, the ALJ considers the
severity of the claimant's impairment and whether the
impairment meets or equals a listed impairment. Id.
(quoting Kluesner v. Astrue, 607 F.3d 533, 537 (8th
Cir. 2010)); 20 C.F.R. § 416.920(a)(4)(iii). “For
a claimant to show that his impairment matches a listing, it
must meet all of the specified medical
criteria.” Id. at 969 (quoting Brown ex
rel. Williams v. Barnhart, 388 F.3d 1150, 1152 (8th Cir.