United States District Court, E.D. Missouri, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
W. SIPPEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Hashmat brings this action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §
405(g), seeking judicial review of the Commissioner's
decision denying her applications for Disability Insurance
Benefits (DIB) under Title II, 42 U.S.C. §§ 401
et seq., and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
under Title XVI, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1381 et seq.2 Because
the Commissioner's decision is supported by substantial
evidence from the record, I will affirm the decision.
December 3, 2013, Hashmat filed applications for DIB and SSI
benefits under 42 U.S.C. §§401 et seq. and
42 U.S.C. §§1381 et seq. Her claims were
initially denied on June 19, 2014. She then filed a timely
request for hearing on July 8, 2014. After the hearing, the
ALJ issued an unfavorable decision on July 22, 2016. Hashmat
then filed a request for review on August 29, 2016. After
their review, the Appeals Counsel remanded the case to the
ALJ for further proceedings.
remand hearing was held in January 2018 and the ALJ issued a
non-favorable decision on March 8, 2018. The plaintiff
promptly requested review, which was denied on July 31, 2018.
In denying the plaintiff's request for review, the
decision of the ALJ became a final agency decision ripe for
judicial review. The plaintiff filed this suit challenging
the ALJ's decision on September 26, 2018.
case, she claims that the ALJ erred by not affording the
proper weight to the opinion of her treating physician.
Hashmat requests that I reverse the Commissioner's final
decision and remand the matter for further consideration.
Statement of Facts
respect to the medical records and other evidence of record,
I adopt Hashmat's recitation of facts set forth in her
Statement of Uncontroverted Material Facts [ECF No. 18-1] to
the extent they are admitted by the Commissioner [ECF No.
23-1]. I also adopt the additional facts set
forth in the Commissioner's Statement of Additional Facts
[ECF No. 23-2], as they are unrefuted by Hashmat. Additional
specific facts will be discussed as needed to address the
entitled to disability benefits, a claimant must prove that
she is unable to perform any substantial gainful activity due
to a medically-determinable physical or mental impairment
that would either result in death or which has lasted or
could be expected to last for at least twelve continuous
months. 42 U.S.C. §§ 423(a)(1)(D), (d)(1)(a). To
determine whether claimants are disabled, the Commissioner
evaluates their claims through five sequential steps. 20.
C.F.R. § 404.1520; Pate-Fires v. Astrue, 564
F.3d 935, 942 (8th Cir. 2009) (describing the five-step
one through three require that the claimant prove (1) she is
not currently engaged in substantial gainful activity, (2)
she suffers from a severe impairment, and (3) her disability
meets or equals a listed impairment. 20 C.F.R. §
404.1520(a)(4)(i)-(iii). If the claimant does not suffer from
a listed impairment or its equivalent, the Commissioner's
analysis proceeds to steps four and five. Step four requires
the Commissioner to consider whether the claimant retains the
residual functional capacity to perform her past relevant
work (PRW). Id. at § 404.1520(a)(4)(iv). The
claimant bears the burden of demonstrating she is no longer
able to return to her PRW. Pate-Fires, 564 F.3d at
942. If the Commissioner determines the claimant cannot
return to her PRW, the burden shifts to the Commissioner at
step five to show the claimant retains the residual
functioning capacity to perform other jobs that exist in
significant numbers in the national economy. Id.; 20
C.F.R. § 404.1520(a)(4)(v).
reviewing the ALJ's denial of Social Security disability
benefits, my role is to determine whether the
Commissioner's findings comply with the relevant legal
requirements and are supported by substantial evidence in the
record as a whole. Pate-Fires, 564 F.3d at 942.
“Substantial evidence is less than a preponderance, but
is enough that a reasonable mind would find it adequate to
support the Commissioner's conclusion.”
Id. In determining whether the evidence is
substantial, I must consider evidence that both supports and
detracts from the Commissioner's decision. Id.
As long as substantial evidence supports the decision, I may
not reverse it merely because substantial evidence exists in
the record that would support a contrary outcome or because I
would have come to a different conclusion. See Johnson v.
Astrue, 628 F.3d 991, 992 (8th Cir. 2011). I must
“defer heavily to the findings and conclusions of the
Social Security Administration.” Hurd v.
Astrue, 621 F.3d 734, 738 (8th Cir. 2010) (internal
initial decision the ALJ determined that the plaintiff was
not under a disability from December 31, 2010 through July
27, 2016. Hashmat appealed the ALJ's determination. The
Appeals Council remanded noting that the ALJ had incorrectly
found that Hashmat's past work as a housekeeper satisfied
the earnings requirement for past relevant work; incorrectly
indicated that she could communicate in English; and did not