United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Northern Division
CRITES-LEONI UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Michael Doucette brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C.
§ 405(g), seeking judicial review of the Social Security
Administration Commissioner's denial of his applications
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 Doucette's severe impairments, he was not
disabled as he 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 his application for benefits on August 14, 2014,
claiming that he became unable to work on February 1, 2014.
(Tr. 276-82, 283-88.) In his Disability Report, Doucette
alleged disability due to the following conditions: ruptured
and herniated disc in his neck and back, chest pains, black
spots on his lungs, constant headaches from a disc in his
neck, bad knees, numbness in his right leg and left arm, high
blood pressure, and depression. (Tr. 311.) Doucette was 45
years of age on his alleged onset of disability. (Tr. 28.)
His applications were denied initially. (Tr. 130-36.)
Doucette's claims were denied by an ALJ on August 4,
2017, after a hearing. (Tr. 15-30.) On April 27, 2018, the
Appeals Council denied Doucette's claim for review. (Tr.
1-5.) Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final
decision of the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R.
§§ 404.981, 416.1481.
action, Doucette argues that the ALJ's “credibility
finding is rife with error and does not follow the
Agency's required two-step analysis pursuant to 20 C.F.R.
§ 404.1529, requiring reversal.” (Doc. 22 at 3.)
The ALJ's Determination
first found that Doucette met the insured status requirements
of the Social Security Act through December 31, 2018. (Tr.
17.) Doucette had not engaged in substantial gainful activity
since February 1, 2014, the alleged onset date. Id.
In addition, the ALJ concluded that Doucette has the
following severe impairments: obesity, lumbar and cervical
degenerative disc disease, degenerative joint disease of the
knee, depression, and an unspecified anxiety disorder. (Tr.
18.) The ALJ found that Doucette did not have an impairment
or combination of impairments that met or medically equaled
the severity of one of the listed impairments. (Tr. 19.)
Doucette'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 sedentary work as defined in
20 CFR 404.1567(a) and 416.967(a) except that he can lift or
carry up to 20 pounds occasionally but cannot perform any
frequent lifting or carrying. He can sit for 6 hours in an
8-hour workday and, throughout an 8hour workday, can
stand/walk for 15 minutes at a time and 2 hours total. He
cannot kneel, crouch, crawl, or climb ladders, ropes, or
scaffolds. He can stoop and balance occasionally. He can
perform occasional reaching with the dominant upper extremity
and frequent reaching with the non-dominant upper extremity.
He should avoid exposure to hazards such as dangerous
machinery and unprotected heights. Additionally, the claimant
is limited to performing simple routine tasks throughout the
found that Doucette was unable to perform any past work, but
was capable of performing other jobs existing in significant
numbers in the national economy, such as addresser, call out
operator, and telephone quotation clerk. (Tr. 28-29.) The ALJ
therefore concluded that Doucette was not under a disability,
as defined in the Social Security Act, from February 1, 2014,
through the date of the decision. (Tr. 29.)
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on August 14, 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
protectively filed on August 14, 2014, the claimant is not
disabled under section ...