United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
HOLLY M. OVERY, Plaintiff,
NANCY A. BERRYHILL, Deputy Commissioner of Operations, Social Security Administration, Defendant.
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Holly M. Overy 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 and Supplemental Security
Income (“SSI”) under Title XVI of the Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Overy's severe impairments, she was not disabled
as she had the residual functional capacity
(“RFC”) to perform work existing 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 her applications for benefits on September 10, 2014,
claiming that she became unable to work on August 1, 2014.
(Tr. 198-99.) In her Disability Report, Overy alleged
disability due to depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, and
possible Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. (Tr. 297.) Overy was 33
years of age at the time of her alleged onset of disability.
Her applications were denied initially. (Tr. 103-13, 115-19.)
Following two administrative hearings, Overy's claims
were denied in a written opinion by an ALJ, dated March 29,
2017. (Tr. 10-19.) Overy then filed a request for review of
the ALJ's decision with the Appeals Council, which was
denied on December 12, 2017. (Tr. 1-4.) Thus, the decision of
the ALJ stands as the final decision of the Commissioner.
See 20 C.F.R. §§ 404.981, 416.1481.
action, Overy raises the following claims: (1) “The
residual functional capacity (RFC) assessment supports a
fully favorable decision”; (2) “The ALJ failed to
properly evaluate the remainder of Plaintiff's
RFC”; (3) “The ALJ failed to fully and fairly
develop the record”; and (4) “The ALJ failed to
consider a closed period of disability.” (Doc. 14 at
The ALJ's Determination
first found that Overy meets the insured status requirements
of the Act through September 30, 2020. (Tr. 12.) She had not
engaged in substantial gainful activity since August 1, 2014,
the alleged onset date. Id. In addition, the ALJ
concluded that Overy had the following severe impairments:
depression, anxiety, obesity, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome,
osteoarthritis, and bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome/status
post carpal tunnel release. (Tr. 13.) The ALJ found that
Overy did not have an impairment or combination of
impairments that met or medically equaled the severity of one
of the listed impairments. Id.
Overy's RFC, the ALJ stated:
After careful consideration of the entire record, the
undersigned finds that the claimant has the residual
functional capacity to perform light work as defined in 20
CFR 404.1567(b) and 416.967(b) except the claimant can lift,
carry, push or pull 20 pounds occasionally and 10 pounds
frequently. She can sit, stand, or walk for 6 hours total in
an eight-hour workday. She can never operate foot controls
with the right foot or left foot. She can operate hand
controls with the bilateral hands frequently. She can handle
items and use her fingers for manipulation with the bilateral
hands frequently. The claimant can climb ramps and stairs
occasionally but never climb ladders, ropes or scaffolds. She
can balance, stoop, and crouch occasionally. She can never
kneel or crawl. The claimant can never work at unprotected
heights or with moving, mechanical parts. She can never
operate a motor vehicle and never be exposed to whole body
vibration. The claimant is limited to performing simple,
routine tasks and making simple work-related decisions. She
can never ambulate on unimproved terrain.
found that Overy was unable to perform any past relevant
work, but was capable of performing other jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, such as
cafeteria attendant, cashier, and mail clerk. (Tr. 17-18.)
The ALJ therefore concluded that Overy was not under a
disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from
August 1, 2014, through the date of the decision. (Tr. 19.)
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on September 10, 2014,
the claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d)
of the Social Security Act.
Based on the application for supplemental security income
filed on March 8, 2016, the claimant is not disabled under
section 1614(a)(3)(A) of the Social Security Act.
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 the entire administrative record and
1. The credibility findings made by ...