United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
NANNETTE A. BAKER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Jeffrey Dean McDaniel's
appeal regarding the denial of supplemental security income
("SSI") for a closed period 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. 8.] 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 decision.
presents three issues for review. First, he asserts that the
Administrative Law Judge ("ALJ") committed
reversible error by finding that he was not disabled between
October 20, 2014 and March 5, 2017. Second, McDaniel contends
that the ALJ committed reversible error by failing to
properly assess the opinion evidence from treating
psychiatric nurse practitioner Melissa Fischer. Third,
McDaniel asserts that the residual functional capacity
("RFC") determination is legally erroneous, because
it failed to include the ALJ's finding that his mental
impairments preclude even unskilled work on a sustained
basis. The Commissioner asserts 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. § 4l6(i)(1)(A).
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.
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. 2003).
"In this substantial-evidence determination, the entire
administrative record is considered but the evidence is not
reweighed." Byes v. Astrue, 687 F.3d 913, 915
(8th Cir. 2012).
filed applications for disability insurance benefits and SSI
with an alleged onset date of January 1, 1999. (Tr. 210-17.)
McDaniel subsequently amended his alleged onset date to
October 20, 2014. (Tr. 225.) Because this amended onset date
was past his date last insured for disability insurance
benefits, December 31, 2009, McDaniel only proceeded on his
SSI claim before the ALT (Tr. 11, 33-34.)
asserted the following impairments in support of his SSI
claim: (1) back injury and pain, (2) bipolar affective
disorder, (3) knee pain, (4) high blood pressure, and (5)
shoulder injury and pain. (Tr. 232.) His claim was denied at
the hearing level and he requested a hearing before an ALJ.
(Tr. 130-31.) The ALJ held two administrative hearings on
August 6, 2016 and December2l, 2016. (Tr. 31-110.) McDaniel
and vocational expert ("VE") Brenda Young testified
at the administrative hearings. After the administrative
hearings, the ALJ gave McDaniel a partially favorable ruling,
finding that he was disabled beginning March 6, 2017. (Tr.
11-24.) McDaniel requested a hearing from the Appeals
Council, which denied review. Therefore, the ALJ's
decision was the final decision of the Commissioner. McDaniel
then filed this action for a review of the Commissioner's
the Court will address the ALJ's decision to give little
weight to nurse practitioner Melissa Fischer's opinion
regarding McDaniel's mental impairments. McDaniel
contends that the ALJ ...