United States District Court, W.D. Missouri, Central Division
NANETTE K. LAUGHREY United States District Judge.
Crystal Tuggle appeals the Commissioner of Social
Security's final decision denying her application for
disability insurance benefits and supplemental security
income under Titles II and Title XVI of the Social Security
Act. For the reasons set forth below, the decision is
alleges that she became disabled on March 13, 2014 due to
lower extremity edema, depression, migraines, fibromyalgia,
tachycardia, hemachromatosis, end stage liver disease, kidney
failure, NASH, urinary incontinence, severe low back and
cervical pain, IBS, and sleep apnea. Tr. 77-78. She filed her
initial applications for disability and supplemental security
income benefits on January 12, 2015. Tr. 219. Her application
was denied on May 29, 2015. Tr. 111. Tuggle filed an appeal
on June 14, 2015. Tr. 118. On August 31, 2016, Tuggle
appeared and testified at a hearing before an administrative
law judge (“ALJ”). Tr. 10. A supplemental hearing
was held on May 25, 2017. Id.
26, 2017, the ALJ issued an unfavorable decision. Tr. 7-24.
The ALJ determined that Tuggle suffered from severe
impairments of liver disease, chronic pain syndrome,
obstructive sleep apnea, obesity, headaches, and depression.
Tr. 12. However, the ALJ found that Tuggle did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that meets or
medically equals the severity of one of the listed
impairments in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, Appendix 1. Tr.
13. The ALJ found that Tuggle had the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) to perform sedentary work with
the following limitations:
[T]he claimant can lift and carry ten pounds occasionally and
five pounds frequently. The claimant can sit six hours in an
eight-hour workday and stand and/or walk two hours in an
eight-hour workday. Additionally, the claimant cannot climb,
kneel, crouch, or crawl and can occasionally stoop. The
claimant can frequently handle and finger, must avoid hazards
such as dangerous machinery and unprotected heights.
Furthermore, the claimant is capable of simple routine tasks,
occasional interaction with supervisors and coworkers, but no
interaction with a public work environment.
Tr. 14. Based on testimony from a vocational expert, the ALJ
concluded that Tuggle could perform jobs existing in
significant numbers in the national economy, including work
as a patcher/household appliance industry (DOT 723.687-010),
lens inserter/optical goods (DOT 713.687-026), or egg
processor/pharmaceutical industry (DOT 559.687-034), and
therefore is not disabled. Tr. 17-18.
Social Security Administration's Appeals Council denied
Tuggle's request for review on March 27, 2018. Tr. 1.
Tuggle has exhausted her administrative remedies, and now
appeals the ALJ's July 2017 decision, which constitutes
the final decision of the Commissioner subject to judicial
reviewing the Commissioner's denial of benefits, the
Court considers whether “substantial evidence in the
record as a whole supports the ALJ's decision.”
Milam v. Colvin, 794 F.3d 978, 983 (8th Cir. 2015).
“Substantial evidence” is less than a
preponderance but enough that a reasonable mind would find it
adequate to support the ALJ's conclusion. Id.
The Court must consider evidence that both supports and
detracts from the ALJ's decision. Id.
“[A]s long as substantial evidence in the record
supports the Commissioner's decision, [the Court] may not
reverse it.” Andrews v. Colvin, 791 F.3d 923,
928 (8th Cir. 2015) (quotation omitted); Chesser v.
Berryhill, 858 F.3d 1161, 1164 (8th Cir. 2017).
argues that the ALJ committed legal error in his analysis at
steps three and four of the sequential evaluation process,
because the ALJ failed to consider whether her migraine
headaches equal an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404,
Subpart P, App. 1 and improperly discredited her statements
concerning the intensity, persistence, and limiting effects
of her migraines and fatigue in formulating her RFC.
three of the sequential evaluation process, an ALJ is
required to analyze a claimant's medically determinable
impairments to determine whether they meet or medically equal
an impairment listed in 20 C.F.R. Part 404, Subpart P, App.
1. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii); see also
Sullivan v. Zebley, 493 U.S. 521, 530 (1990) (“For
a claimant to show that his impairment matches a listing, it
must meet all of the specified medical criteria. An
impairment that manifests only some of those criteria, no
matter how severely, does not qualify.”). There is no
listing that pertains specifically to migraine headaches.
Accordingly, the ALJ did not err in determining that
Tuggle's migraine headaches did not meet a listing. But
Tuggle contends that the ALJ committed legal error by failing
to “consider whether [her] headaches equaled Listing
11.03.” Doc. 17 (Plaintiff's Brief), p. 7. SSA
National Q&A Tracking number 09-036 (posted Dec. 15,
2009) identifies listing 11.03 (Epilepsy - ...