United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
CRITES-LEONI, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Kimberly Turner 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 under Title II of the
Social Security Act.
Administrative Law Judge (“ALJ”) found that,
despite Turner'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 application for benefits on May 4, 2015, claiming
that she became unable to work on May 3, 2015. (Tr. 163-64.)
In her Disability Report, Turner alleged disability due to
back pain, osteoarthritis, depression, chronic pain, bone
spurs in the knees and left ankle, left hip pain, screws in
the right big toe, rotator cuff shoulder pain, anxiety, and
difficulty sitting or standing for long periods. (Tr. 196.)
Turner was 45 years of age at her alleged onset of
disability. (Tr. 33.) Her application was denied initially.
(Tr. 87-92.) Turner's claim was denied by an ALJ on
November 21, 2017. (Tr. 11-35.) On May 29, 2018, the Appeals
Council denied Turner's claim for review. (Tr. 1-3.)
Thus, the decision of the ALJ stands as the final decision of
the Commissioner. See 20 C.F.R. §§
action, Turner argues that the ALJ “improperly weighed
the opinions of Plaintiff's treating team, Nurse
Murd[i]ck and the state agency psychological consultant, Dr.
Akeson.” (Doc. 19 at 3.) She also argues that the ALJ
erred “by drawing h[er] own inferences from medical
reports.” Id. at 5.
The ALJ's Determination
first found that Turner meets the insured status requirements
of the Act through December 31, 2019. (Tr. 16.) She next
found that Turner has not engaged in substantial gainful
activity since May 3, 2015, the alleged onset of disability
date. Id. In addition, the ALJ concluded that Turner
had the following severe impairments: degenerative disc
disease and degenerative joint disease of the cervical,
thoracic, and lumbar spine, with mild scoliosis; degenerative
joint disease of the right shoulder, bilateral knees, and
bilateral feet; major depressive disorder; generalized
anxiety disorder; panic disorder; and chronic pain syndrome.
(Tr. 17.) The ALJ found that Turner did not have an
impairment or combination of impairments that met or
medically equaled the severity of one of the listed
impairments. (Tr. 19.)
Turner'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), with the following additional limitations:
she can occasionally balance, stoop, kneel, crouch, crawl,
and climb ramps and stairs; can never climb ladders, ropes,
or scaffolds; can have no exposure to unprotected heights or
hazardous machinery; can perform only occasional overhead
reaching with the right upper extremity; is able to perform
simple to moderately complex tasks, but can have only minimal
changes in job settings and duties; can perform no fast-paced
production work; can have no contact with the general public;
and can have only occasional contact with coworkers and
found that Turner 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
cleaner/housekeeper, mail clerk, and routing clerk. (Tr.
33-34.) The ALJ therefore concluded that Turner was not under
a disability, as defined in the Social Security Act, from May
3, 2015, through the date of this decision. (Tr. 34.)
ALJ's final decision reads as follows:
Based on the application for a period of disability and
disability insurance benefits filed on May 3, 2015, the
claimant is not disabled under sections 216(i) and 223(d) 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 ...