United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
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 under Title II 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
April 16, 2015, following a hearing, an ALJ found that
Plaintiff was not under a “disability” as defined
in the Act during any portion of the period of alleged
February 26, 2015, Administrative Law Judge Henry Kramzyk
conducted a video hearing from Chicago, Illinois to St.
Louis, Missouri. Plaintiff appeared in St. Louis, Missouri.
Mr. Brian Lee Womer, Vocational Expert also appeared.
resided in Bonne Terre, Missouri at the time of the hearing.
Plaintiff is single and has one child. She was 51 years old
at the time of the hearing. Plaintiff completed one year of
since 2012, becomes nervous and upset around crowds. She
suffers from Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome. She also has
irritable bowel syndrome, Hepatitis B, endometriosis, and
psoriasis. Plaintiff also testified she has rheumatoid
arthritis and hypothyroidism. She has anxiety and depression.
Plaintiff has difficulty with leg cramps, pain in her
stomach, and loose bowels. She had been taking PTSD
medication for a month before the hearing.
further testified that she can lift 25 pounds, can walk a
mile, has to sit for 30 minutes and can stand for 30 minutes.
lives alone. She sweeps, vacuums once in a while, does very
little dusting, straightening, and cooking. She washes the
dishes and does her laundry. Plaintiff tends to her own
personal hygiene. She has three dogs. Plaintiff has a
driver's license and drives.
was testimony from the Vocational Expert. Mr. Womer testified
regarding Plaintiff, who had past experience as a furniture
salesperson, and consistent with the Dictionary of
Occupational titles. Based upon that consideration and the
stated hypotheticals of the ALJ, including stated
limitations, the Vocational Expert concluded there was work
in the national economy available for Plaintiff as a laundry
worker, a kitchen helper, and an inspector and hand packager.
determined that Plaintiff was not entitled to a finding of
disabled. The Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request
for review on August 19, 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 issue in this case is: whether
the ALJ properly gave no weight to the only examining opinion
despite it being consistent with the other examining source
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).
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 ...