United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
SCOTT A. SITZER, Plaintiff,
ANDREW M. SAUL, Commissioner of Social Security, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE
matter is before the Court on Scott A. Sitzer's appeal
regarding the denial of disability insurance benefits under
the Social Security Act. The Court has jurisdiction over the
subject matter of this action under 42 U.S.C. § 405(g).
The parties have consented to the exercise of authority by
the United States Magistrate Judge pursuant to 28 U.S.C.
§ 636(c). [Doc. 11.] The Court has reviewed the
parties' briefs and the entire administrative record,
including the transcript and medical evidence. Based on the
following, the Court will affirm the Commissioner's
presents two issues for review. Sitzer asserts that the
administrative law judge (“ALJ”) failed to make a
proper credibility determination and the residual functional
capacity (“RFC”) determination is not supported
by substantial evidence in the record as a whole. The
Commissioner contends that the ALJ's decision is
supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole
and should be affirmed.
Social Security Act defines disability as an “inability
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 has lasted or can
be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than
12 months.” 42 U.S.C. § 423(d)(1)(A).
Social Security Administration (“SSA”) uses a
five-step analysis to determine whether a claimant seeking
disability benefits is in fact disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(1). First, the claimant must not be engaged in
substantial gainful activity. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(i). Second, the claimant must establish that
he or she has an impairment or combination of impairments
that significantly limits his or her ability to perform basic
work activities and meets the durational requirements of the
Act. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(ii). Third, the claimant
must establish that his or her impairment meets or equals an
impairment listed in the appendix of the applicable
regulations. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(iii). If the
claimant's impairments do not meet or equal a listed
impairment, the SSA determines the claimant's RFC to
perform past relevant work. 20 C.F.R. § 404.1520(e).
Fourth, the claimant must establish that the impairment
prevents him or her from doing past relevant work. 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). If the claimant meets this burden,
the analysis proceeds to step five. At step five, the burden
shifts to the Commissioner to establish the claimant
maintains the RFC to perform a significant number of jobs in
the national economy. Singh v. Apfel, 222 F.3d 448,
451 (8th Cir. 2000). If the claimant satisfied all of the
criteria under the five-step evaluation, the ALJ will find
the claimant to be disabled. 20 C.F.R. §
standard of review is narrow. Pearsall v. Massanari,
274 F.3d 1211, 1217 (8th Cir. 2001). This Court reviews the
decision of the ALJ to determine whether the decision is
supported by substantial evidence in the record as a whole.
42 U.S.C. § 405(g). Substantial evidence is less than a
preponderance, but enough that a reasonable mind would find
adequate support for the ALJ's decision. Smith v.
Shalala, 31 F.3d 715, 717 (8th Cir. 1994). The Court
determines whether evidence is substantial by considering
evidence that detracts from the Commissioner's decision
as well as evidence that supports it. Cox v.
Barnhart, 471 F.3d 902, 906 (8th Cir. 2006). The Court
may not reverse just because substantial evidence exists that
would support a contrary outcome or because the Court would
have decided the case differently. Id. If, after
reviewing the record as a whole, the Court finds it possible
to draw two inconsistent positions from the evidence and one
of those positions represents the Commissioner's finding,
the Commissioner's decision must be affirmed.
Masterson v. Barnhart, 363 F.3d 731, 736 (8th Cir.
2004). The Court must affirm the Commissioner's decision
so long as it conforms to the law and is supported by
substantial evidence on the record as a whole. Collins ex
rel. Williams v. Barnhart, 335 F.3d 726, 729 (8th Cir.
asserts that the ALJ failed to discuss why he was not
credible, identify what symptoms were found credible, and why
some symptoms were found inconsistent with the evidence.
Sitzer also asserts that the ALJ did not consider the side
effects of his medication. In considering subjective
complaints, the ALJ must fully consider all of the evidence
presented, including the claimant's prior work record,
and observations by third parties and treating examining
physicians relating to such matters as:
(1) The claimant's daily activities;
(2) The subjective evidence of the duration, frequency, and
intensity of the ...