United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 405(g),
seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's decision
denying Plaintiff's application for supplemental security
income. Because the Commissioner's decision is supported
by substantial evidence from the record, I will affirm the
mother protectively filed for supplemental security income
(SSI) under Title XVI of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 1381 et seq. The application was filed
on Plaintiff's behalf on October 30, 2014 and alleges a
disability onset date of September 16, 2014. The Commissioner
denied Plaintiff's application on March 3, 2015. Tr., ECF
No. 13, at 70.
requested a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge, which
took place on January 11, 2017. Tr. at 10. On March 28, 2017,
the ALJ issued a decision denying benefits. On December 2,
2017, the Appeals Council denied Plaintiff's request for
review. Tr. at 1. The ALJ's decision is thus the final
decision of the Commissioner. 42 U.S.C. §§
Medical Records and Other Evidence Before the ALJ
respect to the medical records and other evidence of record,
I adopt Plaintiff's recitation of facts set forth in
Plaintiff's Statement of Material Facts (ECF Doc. No.
18-1) insofar as they are admitted by the Commissioner (ECF
Doc. No. 25-1). I also adopt the additional facts set forth
in the Commissioner's Statement of Additional Material
Facts (ECF Doc. No. 25-1), because Plaintiff does not refute
them. Together, these statements provide a fair and accurate
description of the relevant record before me. I will discuss
additional facts as needed to address the parties'
entitled to disability benefits, a claimant under the age of
18 must “have a medically determinable physical or
mental impairment, which results in marked and severe
functional limitations, and 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 12 months.” 42
U.S.C. § 1382c(a)(3)(C)(i).
Commissioner must undergo a three-step process when
evaluating whether a child is entitled to SSI benefits.
First, the Commissioner must determine whether the child is
engaged in substantial gainful activity. If not, the
Commissioner must then determine whether the child's
impairment, or combination of impairments, is severe.
Finally, if the child's impairment(s) is severe, the
Commissioner must determine whether it meets, medically
equals, or functionally equals the severity of an impairment
listed in Appendix 1 of Subpart P of Part 404 of the
Regulations. 20 C.F.R. § 416.924(a); Garrett ex rel.
Moore v. Barnhart, 366 F.3d 643, 647 (8th Cir. 2004). If
the impairment(s) meets or medically equals a Listing, the
child is disabled. Garrett, 366 F.3d at 647. If a
child's impairment does not meet or medically equal a
listed impairment, the Commissioner will assess all
functional limitations caused by the child's impairment
to determine whether the impairment functionally equals the
listings. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a. If this analysis shows
the child not to have an impairment which is functionally
equal in severity to a listed impairment, the ALJ must find
the child not disabled. Oberts o/b/o Oberts v.
Halter, 134 F.Supp.2d 1074, 1082 (E.D. Mo. 2001).
functionally equal a listed impairment, the child's
condition must result in an “extreme” limitation
in one domain of functioning or “marked”
limitations in two domains. 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(a). The
domains are “broad areas of functioning intended to
capture all of what a child can or cannot do.” 20
C.F.R. § 416.926a(b)(1). The six domains used by the
Commissioner in making this determination are: 1) Acquiring
and Using Information; 2) Attending and Completing Tasks; 3)
Interacting and Relating with Others; 4) Moving About and
Manipulating Objects; 5) Caring for Oneself; and 6) Health
and Physical Well-Being. Id.
child-claimant has a “marked” limitation in a
domain when his impairment(s) interferes seriously with his
ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete
activities. His day-to-day functioning may be seriously
limited when his impairment(s) limits only one activity or
when the interactive and cumulative effects of his
impairment(s) limit several activities. “Marked”
limitation also means a limitation that is “more than
moderate” but “less than extreme.” 20
C.F.R. § 416.926a(e)(2)(i). A child has an
“extreme” limitation when the impairment
“interferes very seriously with [the child's]
ability to independently initiate, sustain, or complete
activities.” 20 C.F.R. § 416.926a(e)(3). In
determining whether a child-claimant's functioning may be
marked or extreme, the Commissioner is to review all the
evidence of record and “compare [the child's]
functioning to the typical functioning of children [the
child's] age who do not have impairments.” 20
C.F.R. § 416.926a(f)(1); see also 20 C.F.R.
§ 416.926a(b) (in determining child-claimant's
functioning, Commissioner looks “at how appropriately,
effectively and independently [the child] perform[s] [his]
activities compared to the performance of other children [the
child's] age who do not have impairments.”); 20
C.F.R. § 416.924a(b)(5).
reviewing the ALJ's denial of Social Security disability
benefits, my role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings comply with the relevant legal
requirements and are supported by substantial evidence in the
record as a whole. Pate-Fires, 564 F.3d at 942.
“Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but
is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to
support the Commissioner's conclusion.”
Id. In determining whether the evidence is
substantial, I must consider evidence that both supports and
detracts from the Commissioner's decision. Id.
As long as substantial evidence supports the decision, I may
not reverse it merely because substantial evidence exists in
the record that would support a contrary outcome. See
Johnson v. Astrue, 628 F.3d 991, 992 (8th Cir. 2011). I
must “defer heavily to the findings and conclusions of
the Social Security Administration.” Hurd v.
Astrue, 621 F.3d 734, 738 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal