United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
ORDER AFFIRMING THE COMMISSIONER'S
KAYS, CHIEF JUDGE
Rachel Grider (“Plaintiff”) petitions for review
of an adverse decision by Defendant, the Acting Commissioner
of Social Security (“Commissioner”). Plaintiff
applied for disability insurance benefits under Title II of
the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401-434. The
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found Plaintiff
had severe impairments of degenerative disc disease of the
lumbar spine and cervical spine, carpal tunnel syndrome,
major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and
social anxiety disorder, but retained the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform work as a dowel
inspector, household appliance patcher, and a lens inserter.
carefully reviewing the record and the parties'
arguments, the Court finds the ALJ's opinion is supported
by substantial evidence on the record as a whole. The
Commissioner's decision is AFFIRMED.
and Factual Background
complete facts and arguments are presented in the
parties' briefs and are repeated here only to the extent
filed her application on October 23, 2013, alleging a
disability onset date of February 16, 2012. The Commissioner
denied the application at the initial claim level, and
Plaintiff appealed the denial to an ALJ. The ALJ held a
hearing, and on December 23, 2015, issued a decision finding
Plaintiff was not disabled. The Appeals Council denied
Plaintiff's request for a review, leaving the ALJ's
decision as the final decision. Plaintiff has exhausted all
administrative remedies and judicial review is now
appropriate under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
federal court's review of the Commissioner's decision
to deny disability benefits is limited to determining whether
the Commissioner's findings are supported by substantial
evidence on the record as a whole. Andrews v.
Colvin, 791 F.3d 923, 928 (8th Cir. 2015).
Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but enough
evidence that a reasonable mind would find it sufficient to
support the Commissioner's decision. Id. In
making this assessment, the court considers evidence that
detracts from the Commissioner's decision, as well as
evidence that supports it. Id. The court must
“defer heavily” to the Commissioner's
findings and conclusions. Wright v. Colvin, 789 F.3d
847, 852 (8th Cir. 2015). The court may reverse the
Commissioner's decision only if it falls outside of the
available zone of choice, and a decision is not outside this
zone simply because the evidence also points to an alternate
outcome. Buckner v. Astrue, 646 F.3d 549, 556 (8th
Commissioner follows a five-step sequential evaluation
process to determine whether a claimant is
disabled, that is, unable to engage in any substantial
gainful activity by reason of a medically determinable
impairment that has lasted or can be expected to last for a
continuous period of at least twelve months. 42 U.S.C. §
argues the ALJ erred by not including manipulative
limitations in her RFC and improperly discounted her
subjective complaints. After reviewing the record and the
applicable law, the Court finds these arguments are without
The ALJ did not err in formulating the RFC.
argues the ALJ erred by failing to include manipulative
limitations in her RFC relating to her severe impairment of
carpal tunnel syndrome.
is an assessment of a claimant's ability to perform
sustained work-related activities in a work setting eight
hours a day, five days a week. Ross v. Apfel, 218
F.3d 844, 849 (8th Cir. 2000). It is the claimant's
burden to establish limitations contained in the RFC.
Buford v. Colvin, 824 F.3d 793, 796 (8th Cir. 2016).
The ALJ determines a claimant's RFC based on all relevant
evidence, including medical records, observations of treating
physicians and others, and the claimant's own
descriptions of her limitations. Eichelberger v.
Barnhart, 390 F.3d 584, 591 (8th Cir. 2004). In addition
to considering all of the evidence, the ALJ must build
“an accurate and logical bridge” between the
evidence and his or her decision. Sarchet v. Chater,
78 F.3d 305, 307 (7th Cir. 1996) (Posner, J.); St. Clair
v. Colvin, No. 2:12-04250-DGK-SSA, 2013 WL ...